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Republicans, Democrats ready for broad immigration reform

January 27, 2013|By David G. Savage
  • A bipartisan group of U.S. senators including Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is expected to outline this week a proposal to overhaul immigration laws.
A bipartisan group of U.S. senators including Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)… (Alex Wong / Getty Images )

WASHINGTON — Republican and Democratic senators said Sunday they were ready to announce the outline of a broad immigration reform bill that would include a path to “earned legalization” for immigrants living illegally in this country.

“We can’t go on forever with 11 million people living in this country in the shadows in an illegal status,” said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who has been working on the immigration proposal. “We cannot forever have children who were born here, who were brought here by their parents when they were small children, to live in the shadows as well.”

McCain and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), appearing on ABC’s This Week, said a bipartisan group of six senators has made significant progress on a comprehensive package of immigration reforms and that the basic principles would be announced this week.

President Obama is also expected to unveil his immigration reform plans in Las Vegas on Tuesday.

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“I’m cautiously optimistic. I see the right spirit,” Menendez said. “Very clearly, having a pathway to earned legalization is an essential element.”

When asked why a compromise is now in the works, McCain pointed to the November elections. “Look at the last election. We are losing dramatically the Hispanic vote, which we think should be ours,” he said. “So I think the time is right. … Believe it or not, I see some glimmer of bipartisanship out there.”

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), another member of bipartisan group, said on Fox News Sunday that the senators are still trying to “work our way through some very difficult issues.” But he echoed the view that real progress had been made.

“We are committed to a comprehensive approach to finally in this country have an immigration law that we can live with,” Durbin said.

Sen. Bob Corker, (R-Tenn.), who is not in the group working on the proposal, said senators will be interested in the details before deciding whether they can support it. But after speaking with other Republicans about it, Corker said he too was “very optimistic.” 

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