The politics of immigration reform have 'turned upside down' to make the Senate plan possible. It proposes a long path to citizenship, but only after the US border is deemed to be secure.
A bipartisan “gang” of eight senators fired the opening salvo on immigration reform Monday, proposing a plan that offers immediate legal status for many of the more than 10 million undocumented US immigrants but delays their embarking on a path to citizenship until a raft of border security and immigration enforcement mechanisms are in place.
President Obama, who made sweeping immigration reform a key promise in his reelection campaign and won more than 70 percent of the Latino vote in November, is delivering a speech in Las Vegas Tuesday to announce the White House initiative on the issue. House Republicans, too, are expected to take up their own proposals.
All the activity indicates that broad-based immigration reform, which for years languished in the realm of political impossibility, may now be within Washington’s reach.
“Other bipartisan groups of senators have stood in the same spot before trumpeting similar proposals. But we believe this will be the year Congress finally gets it done,” said Sen. Charles Schumer (D) of New York.
“The politics of this issue have been turned upside down,” he said. “For the first time ever, there’s more political risk in opposing immigration reform than in supporting it.”
Majority leader Harry Reid (D) of Nevada pledged on the Senate floor Monday to do “everything in my power as majority leader to get a bill across the finish line.” Senator Schumer said the group hoped to have the legislation written by March, with the bill hitting the Senate floor sometime in the late spring or early summer.
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