Comprehensive immigration plan coming this week: McCain

WASHINGTON Sun Jan 27, 2013 3:12pm EST

U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) listens to questions during the Reuters Washington Summit in the Reuters newsroom in Washington, November 8, 2011. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) listens to questions during the Reuters Washington Summit in the Reuters newsroom in Washington, November 8, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Leading Democratic and Republican senators said on Sunday there were encouraging signs in the push to overhaul U.S. immigration laws - a top priority for President Obama's second term - and they would introduce their plan this week.

With Obama set to begin his push for immigration reform with a speech in Las Vegas on Tuesday, a group of three Democratic and three Republican senators have been working for weeks on a plan.

One of those senators, Republican John McCain of the border state of Arizona, said on ABC's "This Week" program that the group still had hard work ahead but that he was pleased with the progress and that the principles of a comprehensive plan would be put forth this week.

McCain said the plan was much like a 2007 immigration proposal that died during the presidency of George W. Bush. That plan included a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, tighter borders, a guest worker program and requirements for employers to verify workers' immigration status.

The immigration issue was largely pushed aside during Obama's first term as economic concerns weighed more heavily, but the president, who had overwhelming backing from Hispanic voters in his 2012 re-election, cited it as part of his agenda when sworn in for a second term last week.

McCain said the political aspect of immigration reform should sway any Republicans who object to a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

"We are losing dramatically the Hispanic vote, which we think should be ours, for a variety of reasons, and we've got to understand that," he said.

McCain said change also was needed because "we can't go on forever with 11 million people living in this country in the shadows in an illegal status. 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."

Democrat Dick Durbin of Illinois, another member of the six-person Senate group, said on "Fox News Sunday" that work remained to be done but that the progress was encouraging.

"We are trying work our way through some very difficult issues but we are committed to a comprehensive approach to finally in this country having an immigration law that we can live with," he said. "We have virtually been going for maybe 25 years without a clear statement about immigration policy. That's unacceptable in this nation of immigrants."

Senator Robert Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey who is also a member of the immigration group, said on "This Week" that he was cautiously optimistic because of the bipartisan spirit that has prevailed in the recent reform effort.

"I see things that were once off the table for agreement and discussion being on the table with a serious pathway forward," he said.

Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, a Republican who is not a member of the group, said he had spoken with one of its members, who said he was "very optimistic" about reform.

(Reporting by Bill Trott; Editing by Eric Beech)

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Comments (16)
Doc62 wrote:
I, a democrat agree with McCain. Let’s turn a negative(11 mil. illegal immigrants) into a positive(citizens/visas). They can get good jobs, work hard, send their kids to collrge, gain benefits, pay taxes and vote. Documentation and secure borders will reduce cartel traffic. No more lines of very sick illegals at our ER’s. They can get regular primary healthcare, which will drop acute ER illness visits and hospital stays WAY down. Republicans will love the tax savings(billions).
This could be a defining moment in bipartisanship? Let’s rebuild America!

Jan 27, 2013 2:04pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Why we didn’t have a Guest Worker Program established over 30 years ago is beyond me, as I see that as at least one sensible solution. We obviously need the labor, and a GWP would allow us to not only keep legal track of the millions who come across, it would allow those millions to temporarily work and live here without paranoia and fear of deportation.

But over my dead body will DC grant another amnesty to over 11 million illegal immigrants, as that will just encourage more millions to come, radically altering the cultural fabric of the United States without the consent of the people, once again.

And don’t call me a “racist”, as Hispanics are not a “race”, they are an ethnicity, and if millions of Brits and Germans were landing illegally on our shores, I would be equally irate about it. So don’t go there, bleeding hearts.

Jan 27, 2013 2:08pm EST  --  Report as abuse
LS99 wrote:
“We are losing dramatically the Hispanic vote, which we think should be ours, for a variety of reasons, and we’ve got to understand that,” he said…..
Sir are you doing this reform , because the people and this country need it , or simplly because you lost the Hispanic votes already and your Party needs them in these votes in next election?

Jan 27, 2013 2:33pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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