Senate immigration bill runs to 844 pages

The immigration reform bill released early Wednesday morning by a bipartisan group of eight senators is more than 800 pages long.

The bill would create a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country, heighten border security and create guest-worker and high-skilled immigration programs.

It was released at 2 a.m. Wednesday by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), one of four Democrats in the Gang of Eight, and it runs 844 pages long.

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The measure faces a tough fight in Congress, with conservative Republicans expressing concern that lawmakers are rushing to pass immigration reform.

Early reports suggested that the bill could be as long as 1,500 pages.

“I’m for immigration reform, but we have 1,600 pages,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) had said. “We’re going to read the details and try to make it acceptable to conservatives.”

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) a member of the bipartisan group, defended the bill in a statement Wednesday.

"This bill marks the beginning of an important debate, and I believe it will fix our broken system by securing our borders, improving interior enforcement, modernizing our legal immigration to help create jobs and protect American workers, and dealing with our undocumented population in a tough but humane way that is fair to those trying to come here the right way and linked to achieving several security triggers," Rubio said.

He called the legislation a "strong conservative effort."

"While I believe this legislation is a strong conservative effort that will accomplish all these things and tries to make the best of the imperfect reality we face, it’s not perfect. But I am also confident that an open and transparent process that welcomes public input is going to make it even better," Rubio added.

President Obama on Tuesday hailed the bill as “largely consistent” with his own ideas for overhauling the nation’s immigration laws.

Schumer and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) met with Obama at the White House Tuesday and briefed him on the bill. Obama has made immigration reform a second-term priority and a separate group in the House is working on its own immigration bill.

Along with Schumer, McCain, and Rubio, Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) round out the Gang of Eight.

The senators had intended to roll out their legislation earlier but delayed an event after the deadly terror attack in Boston on Monday. 

Read the bill below:

Gang of Eight immigration reform plan