Who says democrats and republicans can’t work together? This morning, Americans awoke to the news that a key bipartisan group of senators had reached a deal on a blueprint for comprehensive immigration reform. Eight senators, including Charles Schumer (D-New York), John McCain (R-Arizona), Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Michael Bennet (D-Colorado), and Jeff Flake (R-Arizona.), released a memo of the plan with following four goals:
--Create a tough but fair path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants currently living in the United States that is contingent upon securing our borders and tracking whether legal immigrants have left the country when required;
--Reform our legal immigration system to better recognize the importance of characteristics that will help build the American economy and strengthen American families;
--Create an effective employment verification system that will prevent identity theft and end the hiring of future unauthorized workers; and,
--Establish an improved process for admitting future workers to serve our nation's workforce needs, while simultaneously protecting all workers.
The so-called “Gang of Eight” are expected to hold a news conference to unveil their proposal today. The move is likely to add another intense debate to a laundry list of contentious issues gaining attention in Washington. Immigration now joins a list that includes gun reform and the looming battle over the debt ceiling, among others. Over the weekend, the focus was on the republican party’s strategies on these issues and others moving forward. Congressman Paul Ryan previewed some of those battles yesterday on NBC’s Meet the Press. The former vice presidential candidate seemed to draw a line in the sand, saying President Obama was focused on "political conquest" and not "political compromise." Ryan also added that "if we had a Clinton presidency” the U.S. “would have fixed this fiscal mess by now.” The congressman’s comments came after prominent republicans spent the weekend drawing up prescriptions for repairing its image following a tough 2012 election. Will the GOP put forward significant policy changes, or focus on a more cosmetic makeover? Do republicans get it or are they a party in denial? We’ll look at the GOP’s agenda for President Obama’s second term when we see you at noon ET on msnbc.
Sam Stein, Political Editor and White House Correspondent, The Huffington Post/ msnbc contributor (@samsteinhp)
Fmr. Gov. Ed Rendell (D-PA), NBC News Political Analyst (@govedrendell)
Jodi Kantor, Correspondent, The New York Times/Author, “The Obamas” (@jodikantor)
Jonathan Alter, Bloomberg View/msnbc Political Analyst (@jonathanalter)
Hina Shamsi, Director, ACLU National Security Project
Ayman Mohyeldin from Cairo