Sen. Durbin says draft immigration reform bill imminent

The so-called “Gang of Eight” tasked with developing the bill may meet as soon as Tuesday

April 8, 2013

(WBEZ/Lewis Wallace)
At a press conference Monday, Illinois U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin said Senators are close to finishing a draft immigration bill.

Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin said Monday the “Gang of Eight” could meet as soon as Tuesday to discuss a proposed immigration reform bill.

Sen. Durbin is a member of the bipartisan group of eight senators tasked with developing comprehensive immigration reform. At a press conference Monday, he pushed back on suggestions that the bill may not include ramped up border security.

“The Republicans wouldn’t have sat down at the table if we didn’t agree to more border security, and it will be included,” he said. “It goes beyond anything I would have suggested but that’s the nature of a compromise.”

He said Democrats insisted on a “pathway to citizenship” for approximately 11 million immigrants living in the country without legal papers. The bill is also expected to include a guest worker program for low-skilled workers.

Sen. Durbin suggested the group could propose a bill by the end of the week. Once it emerges from the bipartisan group, any immigration reform deal will go through Senate Judiciary Committee and be subject to debate on the senate floor.

Lewis Wallace is a WBEZ Pritzker Journalism Fellow. Follow him @lewispants.