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 ReidSenators briefed on US Navy's encounters with UFOs: report Key endorsements: A who's who in early states Trump weighs in on UFOs in Stephanopoulos interview MORE (Nev.) and Sens. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerMcConnell-backed Super PAC says nominating Roy Moore would be 'gift wrapping' seat to Dems McConnell vows to 'vigorously' oppose Moore's Senate bid Pelosi: Trump delay on Harriet Tubman is 'an insult to the hopes of millions' MORE (N.Y.) and Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezSenate to vote on blocking Trump's Saudi arms deal as soon as this week There is a severe physician shortage and it will only worsen Democrats ask Fed to probe Trump's Deutsche Bank ties 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 GrahamGOP senators divided over approach to election security GOP lawmakers want Mulvaney sidelined in budget talks Trump urged to quickly fill Pentagon post amid Iran tensions 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) TesterVA chief pressed on efforts to prevent veteran suicides Overnight Defense: US to send 1K more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions | Iran threatens to break limit on uranium production in 10 days | US accuses Iran of 'nuclear blackmail' | Details on key defense bill amendments Democrats aim to block defense money from being used on Trump border wall 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 BoehnerTed Cruz, AOC have it right on banning former members of Congress from becoming lobbyists Rep. Amash stokes talk of campaign against Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Trump, Biden go toe-to-toe in Iowa MORE (R-Ohio) BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerTed Cruz, AOC have it right on banning former members of Congress from becoming lobbyists Rep. Amash stokes talk of campaign against Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Trump, Biden go toe-to-toe in Iowa 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 ObamaBiden, Eastland and rejecting the cult of civility Biden lays out immigration priorities, rips Trump for 'assault on dignity' Democrats not keen to reignite Jerusalem embassy fight 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 GutierrezDHS to make migrants wait in Mexico while asylum claims processed Coffman loses GOP seat in Colorado Trump changes mean only wealthy immigrants may apply, says critic 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.