The Senate Gang of Eight’s proposed immigration bill has spun hundreds of amendments. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Senate Gang of Eight to unveil immigration reform bill on Tuesday

After months of negotiations, the bipartisan Senate “Gang of Eight” will unveil a comprehensive immigration reform bill on Tuesday, according to two Congressional aides.

New York Democratic Senator Charles Schumer put out a statement saying, “All issues that rise to the member level have been dealt with.  All that is left is the drafting.”

The bipartisan Senate proposal is the first step in an attempt to craft a sweeping change in current immigration laws.  The bipartisan group has tackled thorny issues such as how to create a path to citizenship for the nation’s 11 million undocumented, how to agree on border security, and how to increase visas for high-skilled and low-skilled workers.  Recently, an agreement between the AFL-CIO and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce signaled a consensus between labor and business groups, which many saw as a positive sign in the negotiations.

But the Senate Gang of Eight’s bill will usher in vigorous debate in the Senate.  Jack Bonnison, press secretary for Alabama Republican Senator Jeff Sessions, said in a statement today that the “leaked selected details to the press seem to confirm Senator Schumer’s recent declaration that ‘First, people will be legalized…Then, we will make sure the border is secure’ …History tells us the enforcement part will never effectively happen.”

Bonnison also criticized the guest worker program as “not temporary and will allow one  million foreign workers to enter the country each year and eventually apply for green cards and citizenship.”

Senate Judiciary Committee Patrick Leahy has announced a hearing for next Wednesday, April 17.  Bonnison said it was “troubling” that Leahy had rejected multiple requests for hearings and that the Gang of Eight had said they would oppose amendments to the bill. “To proceed along these lines is tantamount to an admission that the bill is not workable,” said Bonnison.

But Republicans who are part of the Gang of Eight say the immigration reform bill will pass muster.  “If enacted, Senate immigration reform will be the toughest enforcement and border security law in American history,” tweeted Cesar Conda, Marco Rubio’s Chief of Staff, earlier today.

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