(Updates with fresh details, paragraphs 4-7)
WASHINGTON, April 29 U.S. Senate Majority
Leader Harry Reid and fellow Democrats on Thursday unveiled a
"framework" for a sweeping overhaul of U.S. immigration laws.
In wake of the furor over Arizona's crackdown on illegal
immigrants, Democrats said the first step toward reform must be
bolstered border security.
They also called for creation of a high-tech identification
card for immigrant workers, a new process to admit temporary
workers, "tough sanctions" against U.S. employers who hire
illegal immigrants, and, eventually, a path toward U.S.
citizenship for people in the country unlawfully.
With an estimated 10.8 million illegal immigrants in the
United States, Reid said, "Democrats and Republicans can all
agree that our immigration system is broken" and called for
bipartisan cooperation to fix it.
Reid said the "framework" is based on months of
negotiations that involved Senator Charles Schumer, a member of
the Democratic leadership.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham was also in those talks
and last week said more work needed to be done before any such
legislation is brought before Congress to consider.
Graham accused Reid, who is in tough re-election campaign,
of prematurely pushing immigration reform in an effort to rally
Hispanic voters in his home state of Nevada.
(Reporting by Thomas Ferraro and Richard Cowan; editing by