A bipartisan group of U.S. senators — four Democrats and four Republicans — has resolved all major issues in a pending deal to reform the U.S. immigration system, according to Reuters and FoxNews today. The group plans to release the details of the deal during the second week of April after Congress reconvenes. The bipartisan lawmakers — also known as the gang of eight — said that they expect expect a finalized immigration reform deal to be reached after the deal is put into legislative language and reviewed by the senators.
Included in the negotiations were the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the largest U.S. business group, and the AFL-CIO, the largest labor federation. These two interest groups negotiated a guest worker program — a so-called W visa — on Friday, clearing the way for the immigration reform deal to be reduced to writing.
The immigration deal, though not yet finalized, currently includes:
- an earned pathway to U.S. citizenship for an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants;
- enhanced border security and
- additional means for U.S. businesses to attract and keep high-skilled and low-skilled workers.
Senator Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat and a leader in the Gang of Eight, says “I don’t think any of us expect there to be problems” regarding the finalization of the legislation. This sentiment was echoed by Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, who said: “We’re committed to this if we can get the language right,” as well a Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who stated, “I think we’ve got a deal.”
Senators Schumer, Flake and Graham voiced confidence that the proposed immigration reform bill, with Presidential support, would eventually be adopted by the Democratic-led Senate and Republican-led House of Representatives.