A bipartisan group of senators, known as the "Gang of Eight", publicly rolled out its immigration reform plan Thursday, and as Washington Bureau reporter Michael Scotto reports, this bipartisan bill may actually make it out of the Senate.
One day after partisan gridlock killed a bipartisan gun control plan, a group of senators came together Thursday to publicly unveil its immigration reform bill.
"In a week when disillusionment with politics is being acutely felt, this bipartisan breakthrough offers a degree of hope," said Sen. Charles Schumer of New York.
The 800-plus-page piece of legislation would spend billions of dollars strengthening border security before putting 11 million undocumented immigrants on a 13-year path to citizenship.
"It is not good for this country to have millions of people living in shadows," said Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.
Granting citizenship to immigrants living here illegally still faces stiff opposition from many Republicans, who view it as amnesty, and lawmakers are still mindful that past attempts to overhaul immigration laws ended in defeat.
But in an attempt to show that this time is different, Democrats, Republicans and conservatives, along with immigration groups and labor, all stood together to press for action.
"I think the majority of people in both caucuses really want to get this done," Schumer said. "People, for differing reasons, coming from different regions with different ideologies, want to get this done."
The reason for that support among Republican leaders is simple. Last year, Mitt Romney got just 27 percent of the Latino vote, and the GOP knows that if it doesn't improve its standing among Hispanic voters, it could face extinction.
Arizona Sen. John McCain put it bluntly.
"A little straight talk: Republicans have got to compete, and I say compete, for the Hispanic voter," he said.
Senators are scheduled to hold two hearings on the bill, beginning Friday, with a vote likely before the end of spring.