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Immigration proposal, shelved in 2010, may be revived

By Melanie Mason, Tribune Washington Bureau –

WASHINGTON — Two senators are revisiting a comprehensive immigration plan that they dropped two years ago.

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, R-N.Y., said he and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., “are talking to our colleagues about this right now, and I think we have a darn good chance, using this blueprint, to get something done this year. The Republican Party has learned that being anti-immigrant doesn’t work for them politically, and they know it.”

Immigration reform has received renewed focus since the election. President Barack Obama specifically mentioned the issue in his victory speech on Tuesday.

Exit poll data showed that President Obama won 71 percent of the Latino vote. The shellacking has prompted many Republicans to consider how they can do better with voters.

Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, party strategist Steve Schmidt said “the Republican Party needs to get it together on its outreach to Latinos. And it’s good to hear that Lindsey Graham and Chuck Schumer are going to start advancing comprehensive immigration reform again because we have to get this off the table as a political issue for the party.”

On the program, Schumer offered a brief rundown of the plan.

“Our plan, just to be quick, does four things. First of all, close the border. Make sure that’s shut,” Schumer said. “Second, make sure that there is a non-forgeable document so that employers can tell who is legal and who is illegal. And once they hire someone illegally, throw the book at them. That will stop illegal immigration in its track. “Third, on legal immigration, let in the people we need, whether they be engineers from our universities … or people to pick the crops. And fourth, a path to citizenship that’s fair, which says you have to learn English, you have to go to the back of the line, you’ve got to have a job, and you can’t commit crimes.”

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