First look at Pres. Obama's immigration reform proposal

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- A new immigration bill could impact the nearly half-million undocumented immigrants living in Arizona, paving the way to legal resident status within eight years according to a leaked White House proposal obtained by USA Today.

According to USA Today, President Barack Obama’s bill would pave the way to citizenship by requiring illegal immigrants to pass a background check and pay special fees associated with a new "Lawful Prospective Immigrant" visa.  Applicants would also have to learn English and pay back-taxes to get a Green Card.

The bill also calls for an unspecified increase in border patrol agents, more technology along the border and an expanded e-verify program to check the immigration status of job seekers -- requiring all businesses to use the system within four years, according to the USA Today report.

The Obama proposal is already drawing GOP criticism.

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), who also gave the official Republican response to the president’s State of the Union address this week, posted a biting response to the immigration proposal on his website, Saturday.

Rubio called the president’s proposal “half baked and seriously flawed.” 

“It’s a mistake for the White House to draft immigration legislation without seeking input from Republican members of Congress,” said the statement from Rubio. “The President’s bill repeats the failures of past legislation. It fails to follow through on previously broken promises to secure our borders…”

Rubio also said the president's proposal would be "dead on arrival in Congress."

A 2010 Pew study said there are roughly 400,000 undocumented immigrants living in Arizona.  That number represents about 6 percent of the state’s population.