By Sunday morning, senior lawmakers of both parties were confirming that a deal had been reached, and that this was an important step toward reform – including how to address the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the US today.
"I think we've got a deal,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) of South Carolina said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “We've got to write the legislation, but 2013, I hope, will be the year that we pass bipartisan immigration reform.”
"It will pass the [Republican-controlled] House because it secures our borders, it controls who gets a job … [and] the 11 million [undocumented immigrants] will have a pathway to citizenship, but it will be earned, it will be long, and it will be hard," Senator Graham said.
Graham and Senator Schumer are members of the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” senators working to achieve immigration reform.
“I am very, very optimistic that we will have an agreement among the eight of us next week,” Schumer said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “[Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick] Leahy has agreed to have extensive markup and debate on the bill in April, and then we go to the floor in, God willing, in May. So I think we're on track. This is a major, major obstacle that's overcome.”