A Democrat in the Group of Eight bipartisan immigration negotiators told immigration advocates in Newark today that he’s “more optimistic than ever” about President Obama approving their final bill after intense recess negotiations.
“As the son of immigrants, I understand that our families and communities have already waited far too long for immigration reform. Like all of you here who have worked so hard and so long on this issue, I understand what’s at stake,” said Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.). “We have been negotiating nonstop, working out the details of the legislation we plan to move through Congress, and we intend to introduce a bill very soon.”
The Senate has been in recess since the week before Easter but both sides have indicated the talks go on. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has said a bill could come next week, while Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), likely uncomfortable with aspects of the final proposal, has urged Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) to take the process slow with full, transparent hearings on a bill.
The other members of the Gang of Eight are Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.).
Menendez’s audience also included the Archdiocese of Newark, the Human Rights Campaign, and SEIU.
“The legislation we are finalizing will include critical solutions that will finally, once-and-for-all, change our immigration system for the better… I am more optimistic today than ever before about getting immigration reform passed this year and signed by the president,” the senator told the group. “The time has come for reform. The political winds are in our favor, and we cannot and should not wait any longer.”