A bipartisan group of eight Senators is working to overhaul immigration legislation and present the plan after the spring recess, a proposition receiving support from farm worker coalitions and interest groups.
The legislation is expected to address border security proposals, work visa programs and interior enforcement – all policies that are on the radar for farm groups, agricultural workers and their employers.
On Easter, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said the group – what has been dubbed the "gang of eight" – was continuing negotiations, and has made substantial progress in crafting new legislation.
"I believe we will be able to agree on a legislative proposal that modernizes our legal immigration system, improves border security and enforcement and allows those here illegally to earn the chance to one day apply for permanent residency contingent upon certain triggers being met," Rubio said. "However, that legislation will only be a starting point."
Rubio's stance calls for strong public debate, committee hearings and discussion and amendments from other Senators to improve legislation the "gang of eight" may submit.
"Eight senators from seven states have worked on this bill to serve as a starting point for discussion about fixing our broken immigration system, Rubio noted, "but arriving at a final product will require it to be properly submitted for the American people's consideration, through the other 92 senators from 43 states that weren't part of this initial drafting process. In order to succeed, this process cannot be rushed or done in secret."
Rubio Saturday sent a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., expressing his wishes to ensure transparent negotiations, and call for immediate consideration and negotiation on any framework presented after the break.
Leahy reiterated in his response letter to Rubio Tuesday that addressing the legislation was still a priority.
"As soon as we have comprehensive immigration legislation to review, I will consider scheduling a hearing, in consultation with Senator Grassley, the Ranking Republican on Committee, and Senator Schumer, the Immigration Subcommittee Chair, to examine that proposal.