The Gang of Eight senators intend to propose comprehensive immigration reform legislation on Thursday, presenting Congress with a bipartisan bill that may actually stand a chance of getting passed.
A member of the group told The Hill that the bill is virtually complete. The plan is to bring the bill to the floor this Thursday, but there is a chance the bill could slip into next week.
“There’s a tentative agreement on a number of things, and we’re waiting to see if it can get wrapped up,” Senator Dianne Feinstein of California told reporters gathered outside of the Senate chamber today. Feinstein has led the effort to negotiate agricultural visas, a key issue in the upcoming bill. The Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO came to an agreement on a guest worker program last month that played a large role in the debate.
Members of the Gang of Eight include Republican Senators Marco Rubio of Florida, John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Jeff Flake of Arizona.
On the Democratic side, there are Senators Chuck Schumer of New York, Robert Menendez of New Jersey, Michael Bennet of Colorado, and Dick Durbin of Illinois.
Durbin and Menendez sponsored the DREAM Act in 2011, which would have granted citizenship to students who came to the US as children, passed a background check, and completed either two years of college or military service. The bill was ultimately killed by a Republican filibuster.
Rubio has reportedly put a great deal of effort into producing a quality bill.
“He’s very fact-based, and he’s gotten his way a good percentage of the time,” Schumer said told Hot Air. “He’s persuaded people to his point of view a good part of the time. He comes prepared with facts, and if he doesn’t know something, he’ll ask the staff in the room. He’s not afraid to admit what he doesn’t know.”
The blog reports that some conservatives are concerned by the roles played by John McCain and Lindsey Graham in drafting the legislation, two of the more moderate Republicans in the Senate. Conservatives have opposed comprehensive immigration reform out of concern that undocumented immigrants should not be rewarded for, as conservatives frame the issue, breaking the law. The upcoming bill will place such immigrants on a 13-year path to citizenship if passed.
“All of us have said that they’ll be no deal until the eight of us agree to a big, specific bill, but hopefully we can get that done by the end of the week,” Schumer said on CBS’s Face the Nation.
The Gang of Eight originally planned to unveil a comprehensive immigration reform bill in March, but assuming all things go according to plan this time, better late than never.