As our elected officials made the rounds during the Sunday morning talk shows, immigration reform invariably came up as a topic of discussion.
Indeed, immigration reform has grown to be one of the key issues of debate for both political parties, as it was among the main deciding factors in last year’s presidential election.
Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Chuck Schumer of New York, both members of the bipartisan “Gang of Eight,” were among those speaking optimistically about immigration reform on Sunday.
“I think we’ve got a deal,” said Graham on CNN. “We’ve got to write the legislation, but 2013, I hope, will be the year that we pass bipartisan immigration reform.”
“I am very, very optimistic that we will have an agreement among the eight of us next week,” said Schumer on Meet the Press. “Senator Leahy has agreed to have extensive markup and debate on the bill in April. And then we go to the floor in, (hopefully), May.”
Later on Sunday, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, also a member of the eight, curbed expectations on a looming deal, saying in a written statement, “Reports that the bipartisan group of eight senators have agreed on a legislative proposal are premature.”
One of the most substantial hurdles on the path to an immigration deal was cleared on Friday, when the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and AFL-CIO reached an agreement on a guest-worker program.
When the senate introduces its bill, it’s largely expected to include an earned pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in the U.S.