Gang of Eight calls for immigration reform

January 28, 2013

Six years after a promising, bipartisan push to reform U.S. immigration policy was upended in Congress, a so-called Gang of Eight Senators officially revived the effort today. The group—led by Democrat Charles Schumer of New York and Arizona Republican John McCain—says its proposal is comprehensive, including making the southern border more secure and creating an eventual path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. McCain says the plan will punish employers who don’t verify that their employees can legally work in the U.S.

"We will put in place a legal workers program to provide a humane and effective system that allows immigrant workers to enter the country without seeking the aid of human traffickers or drug cartels. Any immigration legislation that passes congress must establish practical, legal channels for workers to enter the United States whether they’re high-skilled, low-skilled or agriculture workers," McCain said.

Democrat Robert Menendez of New Jersey says he’s seen previous stops and starts on immigration reform in the past but is confident the final outcome this time will different.

"I am the most optimistic I have been in quite some time, and I’m not Pollyanna-ish about that at all. I recognize there are difficult challenges ahead, but I just get the sense of a spirit and a commitment that is far beyond what I’ve seen in some time," Menendez said.

President Obama will be outlining his ideas for immigration reform on Tuesday afternoon in Las Vegas.