Senate leaders unveil details of new immigration reform plan - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Senate leaders unveil details of new immigration reform plan

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SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

Lawmakers in the Senate have come to an agreement on one of the most contentious issues in Washington - immigration reform.

The bipartisan plan, which arose out of the Senate, would grant legal status for most of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the country.

After weeks of closed door meetings, it appears that the guidelines have been established for the debate, which will likely take place over the next several months.

The Senate plan is said to be more stringent than President Barack Obama's proposal, which is also scheduled to be released this week.

Ironically, the new Senate proposal would grant more undocumented workers citizenship than previous plans that were shot down over the past several years.

"This will be the year Congress finally gets it done," said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, during Monday's announcement of the plan.

"I don't want to be negative, I want to be positive," said Gil Guevara, a civil rights activist for the Latino community in Saginaw.

Guevara said that he has witnessed lawmakers attempt to resolve the illegal immigrant situation for years but nothing meaningful has ever transpired over the past decade.

In 1986, under President Ronald Reagan, about 3 million immigrants received legal status.

Guevara is hopeful the plan gains traction in the House.

"I hope it doesn't hit any snags," Guevara added.

Senate leaders believe the results will be much different this time around.

"For the first time ever, there is more political risk in opposing immigration reform than opposing it," Schumer added.

Under the plan, illegal immigrants would be required to pay a fine, any back taxes and then pass a background check in order to qualify.

Another big part of the five-page immigration reform proposal is an increase in border patrol agents.

Lawmakers believe the key to avoiding another similar situation is to tighten up security at the borders.

The president is expected to release details of this immigration reform plan this week in Las Vegas.

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