McCain, Schumer feeling 'very good' about immigration bill
April 16th, 2013
05:50 PM ET
10 years ago

McCain, Schumer feeling 'very good' about immigration bill

(CNN) – Following meeting with President Barack Obama on Tuesday, two of the lead senators on a bipartisan effort to introduce immigration reform expressed confidence about their bill.

"We're feeling very good about this. Things are moving in a very, very good way and the president's support of our proposal, even though he wouldn't fully agree with it, is sort of just the right place to be," Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, told reporters at the White House.

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The bill was scheduled to be introduced during a news conference Tuesday, but the event was postponed with the nation still grappling over events surrounding Monday's deadly Boston Marathon bombing.

Schumer was joined by Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona. The two longtime senators are part of the "Gang of Eight," a group made up of four Republicans and four Democrats who've been working on a reform package they intend to file with the Senate late Tuesday night.

The bill offers a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants through a 13-year process that requires workers to pay a fine and back taxes, as well as pass a background check.

All of that, however, remains contingent on three "triggers," which Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, described Sunday.

They include forming an "e-verify" system for employers to check the legal status of workers; tracking immigrants entering and leaving the country, and bolstering border security, which Rubio, one of the "Gang of Eight," specified would "include fencing."

The trigger system is the main difference between the Senate proposal and that of the president.

"The president, for instance, didn't believe in a trigger. We did. But we created a trigger that's achievable and specific, so it can't be used as an excuse not to provide a path to citizenship," Schumer said Tuesday.

Obama acknowledged the difference in a statement after his meeting with the two senators–but praised the bill, nonetheless.

"This bill is clearly a compromise, and no one will get everything they wanted, including me. But it is largely consistent with the principles that I have repeatedly laid out for comprehensive reform," he said, urging the Senate to act "quickly."

Schumer credited the president for giving the senators "space" to come up with their agreement.

After filing the bill Tuesday night, there will be Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on Friday and Monday, Schumer said. Ultimately, they hope to have the bill on the Senate floor in late May or early June, he added.

The bill marks the biggest movement towards immigration reform since 2007, when a gridlocked Congress failed to pass a bill backed by President George W. Bush. McCain said he doubts the same will happen again as the "attitude of the American people has changed since 2007."

According to a CNN/ORC International survey released Tuesday, 84% of the public backs a program that would allow undocumented workers to stay in the United States and apply for citizenship if they have been in the country for several years, have a job, and pay back taxes.

"The president also believes this is the beginning of a process, not the end," McCain said, adding he's "confident at the end of the day we will have a bill on the president's desk."

- CNN's Paul Steinhauser and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

Filed under: Charles Schumer • Immigration • John McCain
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. nothing new here

    Well, I feel good about this bill too, provided out elected officials are willing to get off their behinds and get this work done.

    April 16, 2013 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  2. The Elephant in the Room

    Neanderthals . . . we ARE NOT building "the dang fence" along our southern or northern border. Please stop pandering to the "traditionalist Americans". Oh and BTW, Id love to see the press do their job and ask "conservatives" what is the price tag for this "fence"? Also, what "no-bid" sweetheart deal are they trying to steer to what company. Media, you want us to defend your 1st ammendment enabled job security? Ask questions about the cost of EVERYTHING a Republican politician advocates for. Follow the money.

    April 16, 2013 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  3. Hammerer

    Two old rich white guys that have been in the Senate since the dark age and you want me to trust them? You must be kidding!

    April 16, 2013 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  4. RC

    I love it.
    Senators Schumer and Rubio have actual comments. Senator McCain repeats what others say.
    He is such a Schumer drone.

    April 16, 2013 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  5. rla

    Mcain did not learn his lesson during his presidential run and schumer is the worst example of a public servant there ever was... My congressmen will not be voting for this monstrocity that has not been vetted in an economic sense and is unenforcable.. Just wait and we will be doing this all over again Typical vote panderring bill no matter what they say!

    April 16, 2013 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  6. Ed1

    Just what we want another free ride to people in this country that are illegal.

    We can't afford the people we have now what makes you think we can afford another 11 million who are not legal and already milking us dry.

    April 16, 2013 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  7. Pete

    Hey McCain wake up old man,you're almost on!!

    April 16, 2013 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  8. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    About time McCain joined the rest of the rational world!

    April 16, 2013 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  9. Donkey Party

    So, background checks for those desiring to be US citizens, but no background checks for those wanting to kill US citizens. Thanks again GOP for proving time and again how insane your party is.

    April 17, 2013 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  10. Taroya

    I would just as soon Americans were taken care of first. But don't think for a second that Mexicans are the only immigrants. With all of the unemployment, there is still H1B visas, that are for hi-tech jobs. Employers claim that there aren't enough Americans to fill those jobs. And yet, with 10+ years of experience under my belt, they would still rather hire someone from India.
    Don't know what we can do about corporate, but somehow, we need to rudely wake them up and make them start paying attention. They have us over a barrel today because of the economy. They can pay whatever they want and make you work 60-80 hours a week for the same pay that we received 10 years ago. And they know it.
    Unfortunately, my landlord didn't get that memo. My rent has gone up, food has gone up, everything has.
    No more immigrants. We DON'T need them right now.

    April 17, 2013 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  11. Richard Long

    I'm sick and disgusted that these Senators are so willing to throw away our country by rewarding criminal immigrants!
    They sat there and watched a woman climb over a boarder fence into Arizona, blatantly and willfully breaking the law and these guys want to reward them?

    April 17, 2013 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  12. Cam

    John McCain, the so called Republican is making deals with an extreme liberal, Chuck Schumer. They are playing good cop, bad cop and it's all a show. McCain and Schumer are on the same team and both are rooting for massive amnesty. Massive amnesty will not help the American people. Massive amnesty will only hurt the American people.

    April 17, 2013 08:24 am at 8:24 am |