National: Immigration reform debated in U.S. Congress

By Donny Kendal

A bipartisan group of Senators, dubbed the “Gang of Eight,” has introduced a comprehensive immigration reform bill that many see as long overdue.

The plan has not been finalized, but advocates are excited by the progress. In an ABC News article, Representative Xavier Becerra said, “You’re not hearing a lot of talk about amnesty and self-deportation any more. You’re hearing talk about how we get this done.” The plan would create faster routes to citizenship. This includes illegal immigrants that were brought to the U.S. before the age of 16. The bill is also said to enhance security on the border.

The immigration proposal is causing a rift in the Republican Party. USNews describes the conflict between the Republicans. Marco Rubio suggested reform should be tackled in a “step-by-step approach” while Chuck Schumer has advocated for one large bill. Republican Representative Bob Goodlatte agreed with Rubio when he said a step-by-step approach “will help us get a better bill that will benefit American and provide a workable immigration system.” Schumer said, “the best way to pass immigration legislation is actually a comprehensive bill because that can achieve more balance.”

Even with split Republican support, the bill may have enough backing to pass congress. The Hill reported Republican Sen. John McCain has been attempting to garner support from business leaders. During an immigration reform summit at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, McCain said, “We need all of you, we need all of the people you represent to be actively engaged in the community.”

The bill would require 61 votes. “I think that’s very doable,” McCain said. Voting on the reform bill is expected in early May.