Senators at Immigration Press Conference in the Capitol, Jan. 28, 2013, from left: Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.); Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.); Sen. John McCain (R-Az.); Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.); Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) (photo by Lynn Sweet)
Sen. Dick Durbin, on the bi-partisan immigration proposals. (video by Lynn Sweet)
WASHINGTON--A bi-partisan group of Senators, including Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) unveiled a comprehensive immigration reform plan on Monday, with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) optimistic that "this will be the year Congress finally gets it done."
"We've been down this road before, but I feel very good about our chances this time," Durbin said at a press conference in the Capitol.
After years of false starts, the 2012 election results--where Hispanics overwhelming voted for President Barack Obama--are bringing Republicans to the bargaining table. Obama delivers a speech Tuesday in Las Vegas outlining his comprehensive immigration plan--which is expected to be close to what the senators are proposing.
"We still have a long way to go, but this bipartisan blueprint is a major breakthrough. It's our hope that these principles can be turned into legislation by March and have a markup by Chairman Leahy's committee with the goal of passage out of the Senate by late spring or summer,'" Schumer said.
"Senator Durbin and I spoke to the president yesterday to update him on this group's progress, and he couldn't be more pleased. He strongly supports this effort. The key to our compromise is to recognize that Americans overwhelmingly oppose illegal immigration and support legal immigration.
"...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," Schumer said.
McCain, who in 2006 worked with the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) to pass a bi-partisan plan which had the support of former President George W. Bush--called the plan "a first step in what will continue to be difficult but achievable. And I don't think I have to remind anyone the last major attempt was over six years ago. Now we will again attempt to commit the remaining resources needed to secure the border, modernize and streamline our current immigration system and create a tough but fair path to citizenship for those here illegally."