Two key U.S. senators are restarting bipartisan talks on U.S.
immigration reform that will include a path to citizenship for
illegal immigrants already in the country, Senator Charles
Schumer said on Sunday.
Appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press," the Democrat Schumer
said he has spoken with Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and
they have agreed to resume talks that broke off two years ago.
"And I think we have a darned 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," Schumer said.
President Barack Obama, re-elected last week with
overwhelming support from Hispanic voters, in 2010 called the
proposal unveiled by Graham and Schumer a "promising framework"
on immigration reform. But the plan never got off the ground.
Obama's support among Hispanics was about 66 percent in the
election, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling data.
There are an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the
United States, most of them Hispanics.
The Graham and Schumer plan has four components: requiring
high-tech, fraud-proof Social Security cards to ensure that
illegal workers cannot get jobs; strengthening border security
and enforcement of immigration laws; creating a process for
admitting temporary workers; and implementing a path to legal
status for immigrants already in the country.
Schumer said the plan embraces "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
Many Republican leaders have taken a hard position against
illegal immigrants. Obama's unsuccessful Republican challenger,
Mitt Romney, said during the campaign that illegal immigrants
should "self-deport" from the country.
Since the election, some influential conservative voices,
including television commentator Sean Hannity, have announced
support for immigration reform that includes a path to
citizenship for illegal immigrants in the United States with no
House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, the top
Republican in Congress, said on Friday that the U.S. immigration
system is broken, and that Obama had to take the lead. Boehner
has said he is confident Republicans could find common ground
with the president.
The Obama administration announced in June it would relax
U.S. deportation rules so that many young illegal immigrants who
came to the United States as children can stay in the country
The change would allow illegal immigrants who, among other
criteria, are younger than 30 years old and have not been
convicted of a felony to apply for work permits.