Senators agree to an outline of a bi-partisan immigration deal
It really looks a lot like the 2007 bill that was soundly rejected by Congress. There appear to be some elements that Republicans can support - border security, DREAM Act - and others, like the path to citizenship, that will be opposed.
One way or another, some kind of immigration reform is going to pass the Senate and arrive on the House floor - probably by late spring.
A powerful group of senators from both parties has reached a deal on the outlines of a comprehensive immigration overhaul, a development that will drive an emotional debate on a hot-button issue unseen in Washington for more than half a decade.
The group is expected to unveil the basics of its proposal at a Monday news conference on Capitol Hill, essentially laying down a marker on the issue one day before President Barack Obama heads to Las Vegas to unveil more details about his own immigration proposal.
According to a five-page document provided to POLITICO, the sweeping proposal - agreed to in principle by eight senators - would seek to overhaul the legal immigration system as well as create a pathway to citizenship for the nation's roughly 11 million illegal immigrants. But establishing that pathway would depend on whether the U.S. first implements stricter border enforcement measures and new rules ensuring immigrants have left the country in compliance with their visas. Young people brought to the country as children illegally and seasonal agriculture industry workers would be given a faster path to citizenship.
The broad agreement by the influential Gang of Eight senators amounts to the most serious bipartisan effort to act on the highly charged issue since George W. Bush's comprehensive measure was defeated in the Senate in 2007.
It remains to be seen if Obama will embrace the Senate effort, or how closely his own proposal hews to the Senate one. But the Senate proposal is expected to take precedence on Capitol Hill, given that bipartisan backing will be crucial to getting anything through the Democratic-controlled Senate - let alone the Republican-controlled House.
Out of 11 million illegals, how many do you think are going to go back to their home country, get in line for a visa, and come back into the US legally?
It also remains to be seen what kind of enhanced border security measures would be passed. We have seen immigration bureaucrats undermine or even ignore measures that have passed congress (like the virtual fence).
It remains to be seen whether any immigration reform proposal can get through the GOP House. It might come down to how many Republican House members tie immigration reform to the improvement in relations with Hispanics.