Reid, Schumer, Menendez to unveil immigration reform plan

Senate Democrats will unveil a plan to reform U.S. immigration laws on Thursday afternoon.

The plan will require that benchmarks be met on border security before the status of illegal immigrants is settled, according to a memo prepared by Senate Democratic offices.

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The memo indicates the Democrats' plan includes measures to bolster border security and unify standards for the detention and removal of illegal immigrants. The plan also provides a path to U.S. citizenship for illegal immigrants who agree to some penalties, including paying back taxes. 

The names of three Democratic senators are attached to the memo: Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidTo end sugar subsidies, conservatives can't launch a frontal attack House presses Senate GOP on filibuster reform A pro-science approach to Yucca Mountain appropriations MORE (Nev.) and Sens. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerGOP lawmaker: Dems not standing for Trump is 'un-American' Trump called for unity — he didn’t even last a week Overnight Defense: GOP plays hardball by attaching defense funding to CR | US reportedly drawing down in Iraq | Russia, US meet arms treaty deadline | Why the military wants 6B from Congress MORE (N.Y.) and Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezJustice Dept intends to re-try Menendez in corruption case DACA is neither bipartisan nor in America's interest Senate DACA deal picks up GOP supporters MORE (N.J.).

Reid will unveil the framework for the bill at a 5:45 p.m. press conference, according to a press release sent out by Democrats.

Schumer has been spearheading the immigration reform effort and said this morning that he's been reaching out to Republican senators on the plan.

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamMcConnell: 'Whoever gets to 60 wins' on immigration Overnight Tech: Uber exec says 'no justification' for covering up hack | Apple considers battery rebates | Regulators talk bitcoin | SpaceX launches world's most powerful rocket Overnight Cybersecurity: Tillerson proposes new cyber bureau at State | Senate bill would clarify cross-border data rules | Uber exec says 'no justification' for covering up breach MORE (R-S.C.), who had worked with Schumer for some time on a proposal, warned Thursday that "if you bring up immigration in this climate, you'll divide the country further."

Graham told The Washington Post's Ezra Klein, though, that while he sympathizes with immigration reform, it just can't be done this year.

"If you go, I can't go with you. Some supporters of immigration reform think I've abandoned them," he said. "But they're not listening. This is just too far for me and for the issue this year."

Other key congressional figures have warned about the feasibility of immigration reform. Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterDemocrat Manchin: Pence attacks prove ‘they don't want bipartisanship’ in Trump admin Tester invited the Border Patrol Union’s president to the State of the Union. What does that say to Dreamers?   These Democrats will have a hard time keeping their seats in 2018 MORE (D-Mont.) said that he doubts Democrats can fit it into their schedule this year.

And while House leaders, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), have suggested the Senate must act first on immigration, House Minority Leader John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerLobbying World Freedom Caucus wants budget reforms attached to debt limit increase Trey Gowdy announces retirement from Congress MORE (R-Ohio) BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerLobbying World Freedom Caucus wants budget reforms attached to debt limit increase Trey Gowdy announces retirement from Congress MORE-not-a-chance-that-immigration-reform-passes-this-year" href="http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/95109-boehner-not-a-chance-that-immigration-reform-passes-this-year">warned there's "not a chance" that Congress would pass an immigration bill this year.

President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaGOP lawmaker: Dems not standing for Trump is 'un-American' Forget the Nunes memo — where's the transparency with Trump’s personal finances? Mark Levin: Clinton colluded with Russia, 'paid for a warrant' to surveil Carter Page MORE on Wednesday night said he favors moving forward on immigration reform, but warned that Congress might not have the political will to take up the issue this year.


"That's a step in the right direction," one of the most forceful advocates for immigration reform, Rep. Luis GutierrezLuis Vicente GutierrezRep. Gutiérrez: 'Complete betrayal' if Pelosi backs budget caps deal without DACA Two states of the union The immigration fight isn't really about the Dreamers — it's all politics MORE (D-Ill.), said after learning Senate Democrats would unveil their draft proposal, which he said he had seen.

Gutierrez was unfazed by Obama's comments. The congressman said the process would undergo a lot of "ups and downs" before reform is ultimately achieved.

"It means double down. Be persistent," Gutierrez said. "We can't let our guard down.

"It is what it is, but it is not a death knell."

He said he was opposed to pushing immigration reform as a political maneuver to rally Latinos for the 2010 elections. If a bill can't pass, Gutierrez said, "I don't want a cynical vote."


This story was updated at 1:55 p.m. and 4:21 p.m.