By Jonathan Easley - 01/27/13 03:16 PM EST
Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin (D) on Sunday revealed key details about a bipartisan immigration-reform plan, saying the legislation would be comprehensive and would include a pathway to citizenship.
Durbin said the group of six senators was working on a comprehensive approach to the issue, as opposed to moving individual elements piecemeal and was optimistic they were close to their goal.
“We are trying to work our way through some very difficult issues but we are committed to working on a comprehensive approach to finally in this country have an immigration law we can live with,” he added.
Durbin's group is expected to outline their proposals later this week.
His comments are the latest encouraging news for advocates of immigration reform.
Last week, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) voiced confidence in the prospects for immigration reform in the House, saying that a bipartisan group of lawmakers “basically [has] an agreement” after more than three years of secret talks.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who is working in the group on immigration reform, has also been quietly building conservative support on the issue.
Rubio in the past supported a piecemeal approach, however. And while Rubio has openly discussed a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, he has included strict caveats.
Rubio would grant temporary legal status to those who passed background checks, underwent fingerprinting, demonstrated English skills, and could prove having an extended residence in the country. These newly legalized immigrants could apply for permanent residency leading to citizenship but would not receive any expedited consideration. They would have to apply through the same channels as aspiring immigrants outside the nation’s borders.
Rubio’s purported plan received an important endorsement from Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) last week.
President Obama is also preparing to launch a major push for comprehensive immigration reform with a speech in Las Vegas next week, where he is expected to outline his proposals.