During a joint press conference Monday afternoon, a bipartisan group of senators introduced a plan to modernize the legal immigration system as well as resolve the dilemma faced by millions of illegal immigrants currently living in the shadows.
The group is made up of Charles Schumer (D-NY), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Durbin (D-IL), John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsay Graham (R-SC), Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) who laid out his own plan for immigration reform during recent interviews.
"The principles I think are quite frankly very similar if not the same, it's the reason why I signed on to this" said Rubio.
“We believe this will be the year Congress finally gets it done. The politics on this issue have been turned upside down. For the first time ever there is more political risk in opposing immigration reform than in supporting it” said Schumer.
The framework contains 4 basic pillars of reform.
Number one, a tough but fair path to citizenship contingent upon securing the borders.
Reforming the current legal immigration system by among others things, assigning green cards to advanced degrees in math and science.
Creating an affective employment verification system by penalizing those who hire undocumented workers and finally, establishing a guest worker program for those willing to serve in the nation's work force.
"When this becomes the law, individuals who are undocumented would come forward at that moment and they would register with the government and have a pending status, now that is not a permanent residency, they have to earn that over a long period of time but they would have a pending status" said Menendez.
It's an issue that has long been a political football, but has now become according to senators like John McCain a very real problem that needs to be resolved.
"We cannot continue as a nation with 11 million people residing in the shadows and we have to address the issue and it has to be done in a bipartisan fashion” said McCain.
The group hopes the framework can be turned into legislation by March with the goal of being passed by late spring/early summer.