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 ReidWarner backing 'small carve-out' on filibuster for voting rights Senate hopefuls embrace nuking filibuster Biden fails to break GOP 'fever' MORE (Nev.) and Sens. Charles SchumerChuck Schumer84 mayors call for immigration to be included in reconciliation Senate infrastructure talks on shaky grounds Could Andrew Cuomo — despite scandals — be re-elected because of Trump? MORE (N.Y.) and Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezLobbying world This week: Congress starts summer sprint The Innovation and Competition Act is progressive policy 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 sees debt ceiling as its leverage against Biden DACA court ruling puts weight of immigration reform on Democrats Senate braces for a nasty debt ceiling fight 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) TesterSenators scramble to save infrastructure deal Bipartisan group says it's still on track after setback on Senate floor GOP blocks infrastructure debate as negotiators near deal 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 BoehnerFreedom Caucus presses McCarthy to force vote to oust Pelosi Stripping opportunity from DC's children Here's what Congress is reading at the beach this summer MORE (R-Ohio) BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerFreedom Caucus presses McCarthy to force vote to oust Pelosi Stripping opportunity from DC's children Here's what Congress is reading at the beach this summer 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 ObamaObama setting up big bash to celebrate his 60th A path to climate, economic and environmental justice is finally on the horizon Emergency infrastructure needed to keep Americans safe: Public media 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 GutierrezBiden's inauguration marked by conflict of hope and fear The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic primary fight shifts to South Carolina, Nevada Democrats rally behind incumbents as Lipinski takes liberal fire 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.