29 Jan 2013

US senators plan immigration reform

10:03 pm on 29 January 2013

A group of influential Democrat and Republican senators have announced details of a plan to reform the American immigration system.

The framework calls for a path to citizenship for many of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.

The eight senators promoted their proposals on Monday, a day before President Barack Obama presents his own blueprint. In last November's elections, Mr Obama, a Democrat, won more than 70% of the Hispanic vote.

For weeks, consensus has been growing that the time for immigration reform has arrived, the BBC reports.

Since December, a group of Republican and four Democratic senators have been working on a set of principles.

Their leader, Charles Schumer from New York, called the plan a major breakthrough and said he believed it could become law by the summer, possibly earlier.

It includes measures to strengthen boarder security as a necessary pre-condition for putting most of the country's illegal immigrants on a path towards citizenship.

Republican senator John McCain, of Arizona, said that path should be tough, but fair and it was time to bring millions of people out of the shadows."

The other six senators are Democrats Dick Durbin of Illinois, Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Michael Bennet of Colorado; and Republicans Marco Rubio of Florida, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Jeff Flake of Arizona.