March 8, 2021

Boston tragedy delays immigration bill

WASHINGTON: Senators are set to unveil a sweeping immigration bill this week to secure the border, remake legal immigration, boost workplace enforcement and put 11 million people in the US illegally on a path to citizenship.



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A group of eight lawmakers, equally divided between Republicans and Democrats, planned to formally introduce the bill Tuesday, although a press event with activists, business leaders and religious groups was delayed until later in the week after the bombing at the Boston marathon.

Sens. Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, and John McCain, an Arizona Republican, planned to meet with President Barack Obama Tuesday to discuss the legislation with him, according to a person with knowledge of the plan who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private meeting. Immigration legislation is a top second-term priority for the president.

The legislation would be the culmination of months of closed-door meetings among a so-called Gang of Eight senators, including McCain, Schumer and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.

Their legislation aims to strike a balance between enforcement provisions sought by Republicans, and Democratic priorities, including making citizenship widely accessible to those illegally in the U.S.

McCain, Rubio and other Republicans who wrote the immigration bill briefed other members of the Senate Republican caucus on its contents Monday night.

Afterward, some senators said they appreciated the briefing but still have much to learn before they can commit to supporting the legislation. Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio said there needs to be a focus on enforcement before anything else. And Sen. John Boozman of Arkansas said he has concerns about anything that could be perceived as amnesty.