Immigration reform proposed
NEW YORK TIMES
WASHINGTON -- A bipartisan group of senators unveiled on Monday a set of principles for comprehensive immigration legislation that includes a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million immigrants already in the country illegally, contingent on first securing the nation's borders.
The group hopes to have legislation drafted by March and a vote before the August recess. Speaker John A. Boehner, whose support will be crucial for shepherding any bill through the Republican-controlled House, did not comment on the principles, but his office offered a brief statement.
"The speaker welcomes the work of leaders like Senator Rubio on this issue," referring to Marco Rubio, R-Fla. The speaker "is looking forward to learning more about the proposal in the coming days," said Michael Steel, a spokesman for Boehner.
Five of the group's eight senators -- Charles E. Schumer of New York, Richard J. Durbin of Illinois and Robert Menendez of New Jersey, all Democrats; and Rubio and a fellow Republican, John McCain of Arizona -- made the announcement. Sens. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, both Republicans, and Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado, a Democrat, were not present but are part of the group.
The eight senators, Schumer said, "have come together on a set of bipartisan principles for comprehensive immigration reform legislation that we hope can pass the Senate in overwhelming and bipartisan fashion."
"We still have a long way to go, but this bipartisan movement is a major breakthrough," he said.
The group described four main pillars: border enforcement, employer enforcement, the handling of the flow of legal immigration (including temporary agricultural workers and high-skilled engineers) and a pathway to citizenship for those who entered the nation illegally.
McCain called the pathway to citizenship the "most controversial piece of immigration reform," saying illegal immigrants deserve a chance to live legally in the country and ultimately become citizens.