March 22nd, 2013
04:32 PM ET
10 years ago

Bipartisan group of senators close to deal on immigration plan

Washington (CNN) – A bipartisan group of senators on the verge of a new comprehensive immigration reform bill have tentatively agreed to the stickiest issues, like a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants and metrics for securing the border, and is now working on the remaining unresolved detail: how to construct a guest worker program for the future.

A source familiar with the immigration negotiations tells CNN the eight senators, four Democrats and four Republicans, will hold their final meetings Friday before a two week spring break. The source says they feel confident that they will be ready to unveil the highly anticipated immigration bill early in the week of April 8th, when Congress returns to work.

The big outstanding issue appears to be around the future flow of low skilled guest workers who would come to the U.S. to do jobs such as maids, waiters, hotel workers or homecare workers. They are haggling over how much they would be paid, and how many worker would be allowed into the country each year.

Labor unions influencing the talks are arguing for higher pay and fewer workers per year, since they are concerned about the effect guest workers would have on American workers. The Chamber of Commerce is pushing senators for lower pay and high numbers of guest workers per year, since that will help businesses' bottom lines.

When it comes to the explosive issue of a path to citizenship, the source close to the talks tells CNN the senators have virtually agreed to a 13 year path to citizenship for the 11 million or so people currently in America illegally.

According to the tentative agreement on this issue, it would take 10 years for illegal workers to get a green card to work legally in the U.S. and then an additional three years to move towards citizenship. Illegal workers would have to pay a fine, back taxes, and have no criminal record.
The overall amount of time on the path to citizenship, 13 years, is the same as what the late Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy, Sen. John McCain, R-AZ and others agreed to in their ill fated bipartisan proposal six years ago.

The difference, however, is that plan proposed a waiting time of eight years to get a green card, and five more years to get to citizenship.

As for the current talks, the so-called Gang of Eight agreed that no illegal worker would be eligible for citizenship until the border is deemed secure – and figuring out how to measure that has been a big part of bipartisan negotiations.

CNN is told that the senators have settled on the concept of a border commission – a group of people tasked with determining that the border is secure, based on a set of quantifiable criteria laid out in the proposal. The commission would be made up of officials named by state and federal leaders.

Senators involved in the immigration talks include: Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, Sen. Robert Menendez, D-New Jersey, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, and Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colorado.

Filed under: Immigration • Senate
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Gurgyl

    Isn't this Enough of these GOP guys??? Iraq war, Afganistan war, 20 billion dollars aide to Pakistan while Laden in Pakistan, now they talk of immigration. They need potty-training first. Go home, week-end.

    March 22, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  2. Ed1

    They should not get a free ride let them come in the front door like everybody before them.

    I think it stinks that we will not enforce our own laws because Obama and his Democrat Thugs might lose votes.

    It's about the laws that our President will not enforce people nothing else.

    March 22, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  3. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    13 years is a long time to wait, but hey.

    March 22, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  4. James

    Every White country on the planet is forced to become multicultural and multiracial.

    EVERY white country is told to end its own race and culture.

    No one asks that of ANY non-White country. Immigration and forced-assimilation is for ALL & ONLY White countries.

    Anti-Whites call themselves "anti-racist", but their words & actions lead to the genocide of only one group: White people.

    The true goal of anti-racism is to genocide my people.

    Anti-racist is a codeword for anti-White.

    March 22, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  5. Berry Dingle

    Pictured above: Four (old white men and one new boot kisser), who will if given the chance, ruin your lives if you let them do so. Don't let this happen. You'll be sorry.

    March 22, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  6. DENNA

    I just love it that the GOP is getting on the immigrant bandwagon. There's something about becoming an voting demographic that gets their attention. They finally figured out that they could not keep ignoring and disrespecting the illegal immigrants. Businesses want them, so here they will stay. Just pay them a decent living wage,

    March 22, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  7. WiredweirdinSF

    Can't believe they are closing the WH for tour and shutting down Air Traffic Control Centers and yet paying $400K for Joe Bidens European hotel rooms. I wonder how much Michelle will be spending on her next "vacation.?"

    March 22, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  8. rosethornne

    " I think it stinks that we will not enforce our own laws because Obama and his Democrat Thugs might lose votes.It’s about the laws that our President will not enforce people nothing else." – Ed1 –

    Apparently Mr. 1 is not aware that deportation has risen to immigrant-distressing heights under President Obama. So, the President IS enforcing the laws, he risks losing votes, and by the way "Democrat" is a noun, not a descriptive term. I believe Mr. 1 meant to say "Democratic" but tragically choked on the spacebar before finishing the word, leaving his faithful cat Miss Pudgewhiskers to seamlessly finish the post.

    March 22, 2013 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  9. DENNA

    @ James – Stop whining. The white races of the world aren't going to go anywhere. But the reality of it all is that other races are insisting on being recognized and want to be an active part of wherever they live. Why can't whites share, anyway? That whole superiority thing is played out and no one cares anymore. People are getting along a lot better than they were 50 years ago and we can only hope that no one race will ever rule again.

    March 22, 2013 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  10. Ram

    13 yrs , for an illegal to become a citizen. What ???? I have been waiting for 8 yrs to get my green card and i came legally and am waiting in line, how come illegals get preferential treatment??! I am discriminated based on the country of birth, not fair

    March 22, 2013 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  11. Tippy

    well the way i look at it is if the Rep vote for it might just as well only vote for the democrats, you get the same thing so
    maybe should just have a democrat congress and white house

    March 22, 2013 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  12. billmosby

    Denna, 50 years ago civil rights legislation passed because of the support of many groups, whites included. Without white support we'd still be waiting for it. That's sharing of a sort. And of course not all whites feel like sharing, true. But enough do. And this country is a lot less strict about border violations than a lot of other white-majority countries are, as far as that is concerned. If other races were treated that badly here, they'd be migrating to other places instead of here.

    March 22, 2013 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  13. mario viddane

    I am illegal immigrant, paid my taxes on time, got here legal visa , I don't have criminal record, speak English well.,

    I have to wait 10 years for a green card, 3 for citizen,. WHAT STATUS I WILL BE IN THIS MEAN TIME ??

    PRE QUALIFIED? CARD ???? can someone explain to me ?

    March 22, 2013 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  14. Manuel J.

    There are a lot of knucklehead Lib's dissing the GOP about immigration. The GOP is the only party to have done anything with immigration reform. Obama is/was a liar and full of miera.

    March 22, 2013 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  15. T

    .....Most smart people recognize that the Tea Party led GOP has done NOTHING to improve the lives of average Americans...............................and that GOP will SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES in 2014 and 2016.................

    March 22, 2013 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  16. rs

    Anyone want to take a bet on a filibuster from the minority in the Senate?

    March 22, 2013 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  17. Nothing At All

    The border will never be completely secure.

    March 22, 2013 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  18. sajjad

    honestly they only thing i care about as that these people learn English and for them not milk the liberal nanny state we shpuld not have, but i dont like it by saying white countries are forced to allow non white immigrants and end the white race. first of this is not europe, america is not a white mans country to begin with. the white man stole and forced non white countiies such as all of america, s. africa, austrlia, and new zealand to become white ruled nations, now when they tables are turned its seen as they white race is in trouble all bunch of bull crap

    March 23, 2013 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  19. florida sandy

    I guess denna isn't smart enough to understand the concept of supply and demand-and just thinks that people can be paid whatever they demand.

    those are exactly the kind of people who support illegal immigration-clueless and uninformed.

    March 23, 2013 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  20. Just_realistic

    The US doesn't need a new immigration policy .. they need to enforce the current policies – PERIOD. The US policies are far more lenient than most every other first world country.

    March 23, 2013 03:27 am at 3:27 am |
  21. Jonquil

    For those of you who are so worried, you'll notice that all proposals do not tolerate criminals, so both citizenship and residency is on a "good behavior" basis. Everyone will be accounted for and tracked. Those that stubbornly refuse to comply, following such a gracious opportunity, will be promptly deported. Everyone else will be given one opportunity to prove that they can be a decent member of our society; if they choose crime over citizenship, they will be deported - and we'll know where to find them. It's not the free ride some of you think it is. The only one pushing for a free ride, is The Chamber of Commerce.

    March 23, 2013 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  22. ed dugan

    If anyone in DC had the guts to simply stop ALL immigration until we cleaned out the Mexican illegals we might have a chance of saving the US from joining the third world. Hispanics are corrupting our culture and no one seems to care!

    March 23, 2013 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  23. Ancient Texan

    Denna- President Bush advocated immigration reform and that proposal met with bipartisan opposition. The common claim on both sides was "another form of amnesty".

    March 23, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  24. Evelyn

    No immigration reform should be done until they,the clowns in Washington can prove to the American people thay will enforce the workplace with the E-Verify bill and it must have severe penalities for those who employee illegals.We must have more control at the borders even if it means using the military.
    The great Amnesty of 1986 was to have ended illegals working in America and our do nothing government ignored it and look where we are now?
    Help those who are working to come here legally and quit pandering to corporations wanting to bring in cheap foreign labor .Our so called leaders need to have concern for the American people ,not the next election.

    March 23, 2013 10:24 am at 10:24 am |