Eight U.S. Senators — four Democrats, four Republicans — on Monday proposed legislation what would allow undocumented immigrants to seek legal work status without returning to their home countries, according to a CNN report.
Newly elected Illinois Congressman Bill Foster, D-11, released a statement lauding the plan and calling for a similar compromise plan from the U.S. House of Representatives.
While the proposal garnered bipartisan support, some conservatives objected, including Rep. Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican.
"When you legalize those who are in the country illegally, it costs taxpayers millions of dollars, costs American workers thousands of jobs and encourages more illegal immigration," Smith said, according to Reuters.
The proposal is backed by influential senators including Dick Durbin, D-IL; John McCain, R-AZ; and Marco Rubio, R-FL.
The plan was unveiled during a news conference a day before President Barack Obama is scheduled to discuss immigration during a policy speech in Nevada, the news service reported.
A bipartisan group in the U.S. House of Representatives is reportedly close to unveiling an immigration plan of its own.
Foster released a statement Monday supporting the proposal:
Today’s proposal is an important first step towards enacting desperately needed reforms to our broken immigration system. This issue has been pushed aside for too long – it’s time for Congress to take quick action and pass a comprehensive package that includes providing law enforcement authorities the tools they need to secure our borders, a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants already in the country, and a more secure and efficient system for legal immigration.
Voters sent a clear message last November that it’s time to end the partisan political posturing and start working across the aisle. I’m encouraged to see that a group of senators received that message and am hopeful that my colleagues in the House will follow suit.
I am particularly pleased to see a bipartisan consensus forming around Senator Durbin’s leadership on this issue, and I look forward to working with Congressman Gutierrez to produce a similar breakthrough on the House side.