GREEN CARLS BAY, Fla.
— When the news broke that the House and Senate had reached an agreement on a bipartisan immigration bill that would legalize nearly 11 million people living in the U.S. illegally, the Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, quickly issued a statement announcing that “it is time to end the shameful partisan gridlock in Washington.”
The agreement, the most sweeping and far-reaching legislation ever passed by Congress, would legalize as many as 11 million undocumented immigrants living in this country, allowing the government to send them back to their home countries, to be reunited with their families and communities, and to pursue employment and education opportunities.
The measure is also expected to help bring thousands of refugees into the country, which could prove to be a boon for many families and provide a boost to the economy.
Democrats say it will help address the crisis that has gripped the country for years.
“The president has been talking about a path to citizenship for over a year and a half, but there is no plan in place to make it happen,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif.
“This bill is the most comprehensive immigration reform package ever.
It would end the border wall, give families a path back home and give Americans the certainty they deserve.”
Under the bill, which is expected to be approved by the House by the end of the week, the administration will not be required to take any steps to secure the border before the bill’s passage, which would mean a return to a much more limited process of securing the border, the first step in building a permanent wall.
As a result, immigration advocates say, the bill will not only be the best immigration reform bill ever written, but also one that will serve as a model for other legislation in Congress.
It also offers a major win for Democratic leaders, who have been pushing for years to pass comprehensive immigration legislation.
For decades, Democrats have pushed for a path forward on immigration reform, with little success.
But after years of waiting for President Donald Trump to act, their efforts began to gain momentum, as the White House struggled to find a plan to secure a border and the GOP’s push for a border wall came to fruition.
During the last several years, the bipartisan group of Democratic lawmakers led by Schumer has pushed to secure border security, increase enforcement of immigration laws and pass legislation that would allow some undocumented immigrants to be deported.
That effort culminated in a bipartisan agreement that passed the House in late March.
Republicans, who control both chambers, have so far rejected that deal.
Last year, the House passed an immigration overhaul package that included $1.7 trillion for border security and enforcement.
But the Senate approved a bill in early May that was not included in that package, and that was the end.
In addition to border security funding, the legislation includes a pathway to citizenship that includes allowing people who were here illegally as children to apply for a green card and, in some cases, get a green light to return to the U., a move that would be subject to border enforcement.
Currently, people living here illegally are subject to a series of laws, including criminal penalties for illegal entry, which can result in lengthy detention and deportation.
If the House bill becomes law, those who have spent more than five years here illegally would be able to apply to become legal permanent residents.
It also includes provisions to make permanent residency available to those with family ties here and would allow those who entered the country as children, or those who came here on temporary visas, to apply.
Schumer’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether he supports the bill.
The House bill is also slated to allow employers and universities to hire people without papers.
The Senate bill would require that employers use the same screening process that’s already used for legal immigrants, including an employment verification check, before hiring.
While the House immigration bill passed in March, Democrats were not able to get enough votes to pass a bipartisan bill that was also being pushed by Sen. Chuck Schumer in early March.
The legislation would have been the first of its kind.
After the House vote, Sen. Ben Cardin, D‑Maryland, said he hoped the bill would be passed in the Senate, but he didn’t expect it to happen this year.
“I hope that we can get to a place where this is a bipartisan issue,” Cardin said.
“We should have a path of immigration reform.
I just hope we don’t have a situation where we have to go back to where we started.”
Schumers Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, DMaryland., have been working together to craft legislation that could potentially include the pathway to legalization as a condition for border enforcement measures.