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Schumer, Graham bringing back immigration reform plan

November 11, 2012|By Melanie Mason
  • Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) will revisit his immigration reform plan with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).
Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) will revisit his immigration reform plan… (Bruce Bennett / Getty Images )

Democratic Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York said Sunday that he and Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham are revisiting their comprehensive immigration plan that was shelved two years ago, a sign, he said, that prospects for a major immigration overhaul were good.

Appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press," Schumer said he and the senator from South Carolina "are talking to our colleagues about this right now, and I think we have a darn good chance, using this blueprint, to get something done this year. The Republican Party has learned that being anti-immigrant doesn't work for them politically, and they know it."

Immigration reform has received renewed focus in the election aftermath, after the president specifically mentioned revisiting the issue in his victory night speech.

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Exit poll data showed that President Obama won 71% of the Latino vote; the shellacking has prompted many in the Republican Party to reassess how the GOP can gain better standing among Latino voters.

Conservative TV and radio personality Sean Hannity, for instance, said Thursday he "evolved" on immigration and now supports a pathway to citizenship for those who are already in the country illegally.

Appearing on "Meet the Press," GOP strategist Steve Schmidt said "the Republican Party needs to get it together on its outreach to Latinos. And it's good to hear that Lindsey Graham and Chuck Schumer are going to start advancing comprehensive immigration reform again because we have to get this off the table as a political issue for the party."

On the program, Schumer offered a brief rundown of the proposed plan.

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"Our plan, just to be quick, does four things. First of all, close the border. Make sure that's shut," Schumer said. "Second, make sure that there is a non-forgeable document so that employers can tell who is legal and who is illegal. And once they hire someone illegally, throw the book at them. That will stop illegal immigration in its track. He continued: "Third, on legal immigration, let in the people we need, whether they be engineers from our universities ... or people to pick the crops. And fourth, a path to citizenship that's fair, which says you have to learn English, you have to go to the back of the line, you've got to have a job, and you can't commit crimes."

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