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Senators Propose Sweeping Changes to Immigration Laws

Bipartisan announcement comes as Obama prepares to unveil his plan


A bipartisan group of senators announced today their plan to overhaul U.S. immigration law to provide a path to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants, dependent on securing America’s borders first.

Senators Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Richard Durbin, D-Ill., Robert Menendez, D-N.J., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and John McCain, R-Ariz., appeared at a press conference today to reveal their plan. Also brainstorming with these senators but not appearing were Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Michael Bennet, D-Colo.

The deal focuses on four areas of concern: border enforcement, employer enforcement, handling the flow of legal immigration, and pathways to citizenship for illegal immigrants. McCain, in arguing in favor of a pathway to legal citizenship for illegal immigrants, said illegal immigrants ultimately deserve a chance to live legally in the U.S. and become citizens.

“We have been too content for too long to allow individuals to mow our lawn, serve our food, clean our homes and even watch our children, while not affording them any of the benefits that make our country so great. I think everyone agrees that it’s not beneficial to our country to have these people hidden in the shadows.”

Interestingly enough, the senators’ proposal comes one day before President Barack Obama is anticipating to release his own immigration reform plan. Schumer and Durbin spoke with Obama yesterday night, and said the president was pleased with their efforts.

Still, they were clearly attempting to beat Obama to the punch. Worried that Republican lawmakers would not back an immigration plan proposed by Obama, and realizing that he was getting ready to unveil his plan, the senators rushed to make their announcement ahead of him. It won’t be clear until Obama’s announcement tomorrow if there are any significant differences in the two plans.

Also uncertain is whether the Republican-run House will support such a bill. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Oh., did not comment on the specifics of the proposal, but did say in a brief statement he “welcomes the work of leaders like Senator Rubio on this issue” and “is looking forward to learning more about the proposal in the coming days”, according to his spokesman.

— Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPolitics Editor

The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.

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