The PJ Tatler

Rubio, Durbin, Other Senators to Push Immigration Reform Plan

A day before President Obama pushes his immigration reform plan — expected to be a 2011 retread — in Las Vegas, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) will join other lawmakers at a 2:30 p.m. press conference on the Hill to tout a bipartisan immigration reform plan.

Lawmakers joining Rubio are expected to include Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and John McCain (R-Ariz.).

The senators will promote a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants on the condition that the borders are secured.

“I’ve spoken to all of the senators that are involved in the preparation of this proposal. Look, it’s a work in progress,” Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), chairman of the Hispanic Caucus’ immigration task force, told CNN.

“They’re going to become American citizens one way or another. It’s a question of when it’s going to be. I’d rather do it at the front end because, from my perspective, I want the undocumented to integrate themselves, to make a commitment, and to have to fulfill all the responsibilities that you and I have to fulfill as American citizens. I think that’s what makes our country strong and fair at the same time,” Gutierrez said.

“If this was an easy lift, it would have been done a long time ago,” said Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.). “What has to be fixed is rather extensive. Whether it’s border security, whether it’s internal security, whether it’s a process where people can actually come to the United States — all of it is broken and all of it has to be fixed. It’s been a very difficult process.”

Diaz-Balart said he, Gutierrez, and other members have been working “quietly, seriously, not to take credit, but to try to solve this broken problem.”

He said his party’s tone on the issue has been “a big part of the problem.”

“Both parties have used this issue for years as a political weapon,” Diaz-Balart said. “…It’s obviously been disastrous for the Republicans. But Congressman Gutierrez and I and this group of us working for years have been less frankly concerned about the politics. We’ve been concerned about solving the problem.”

“A group of us have been ready for years. We’ve worked out most of the complicated details. The devil is in the details. We’ve dealt with that devil. Now it’s an issue of filing legislation and hopefully get it passed,” the Republican added.