Immigration bill expected this week, senators say
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A bill to overhaul the immigration system would likely be completed by the end of this week, two senior senators said on Sunday.
Democratic Senator Charles Schumer of New York said that senators in the bipartisan "Group of Eight" have resolved all major issues in a pending deal and that their staffs are putting the bill into legislative language.
"All of us have said that they'll be no deal until the eight of us agree to a big, specific bill, but hopefully we can get that done by the end of the week," he said on CBS's "Face the Nation" program.
"There have been kerfuffles along the way, but each one of those thus far has been settled," said Schumer, a member of the group, which has four Democrats and four Republicans.
All eight members must then review the legislative language, he said.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the biggest U.S. business group, and the AFL-CIO, the largest labor federation, reached an elusive agreement on a guest-worker program late last month, clearing the way for the writing of a full bill.
The legislation will include an earned pathway to U.S. citizenship for an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants, bolstered border security and ways for business to meet the need for both high-skilled and low-skilled workers.
Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona, appearing with Schumer, agreed that a bill would be ready soon and said the legislation would address the needs of both business and labor with a guest-worker program.
"We need to have a path to citizenship, and we need to have secure borders .... And we also have to have a robust guest-worker program so people will not hire someone who is here illegally," McCain said.
A bipartisan group from the Republican-led House of Representatives is working on its own version of immigration reform.
If the Senate and House bills pass their respective chambers, they would have to be reconciled before a final version is voted on and then sent to President Barack Obama for signing into law.
The Gang of Eight in the Democratic-led Senate had initially planned to have a bill by the end of March.
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