Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said Sunday he is working with a Republican counterpart, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), on a four-point immigration plan they believe will bring their respective parties to a consensus on the issue.
“We are resuming the talks that were broken off two years ago,” Schumer told Meet The Press host David Gregory. “We had put together a comprehensive detailed blueprint on immigration reform. It had the real potential for bipartisan support.”
The duo’s proposal, Schumer said, would involve increased security along the border, tougher penalties for employers found to hire undocumented immigrants, a clearer path to U.S. citizenship for “the people that we need — whether they be engineers from our universities or people to pick the crops” — and more requirements for prospective immigrants, including learning English, a clean criminal record, employment and “you’ve gotta get back in the line.”
He also said their proposal included the creation of a “non-forgeable” document for qualified immigrants. The 2010 version of the two senators’ “rational legal immigration system” called for a biometric Social Security card, though Schumer did not mention that Sunday.
At one point two years ago, the duo was confident enough in its’ proposal to laud it in a joint column written for The Washington Post, saying, “the American people deserve more than empty rhetoric and impractical calls for mass deportation. We urge the public and our colleagues to join our bipartisan efforts in enacting these reforms.”
However, the partnership dissolved, reportedly because of partisan anger over President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, to the point where Graham teased the idea of introducing a bill revoking automatic U.S. citizenship for children born to undocumented immigrants, saying it “attracts people for all the wrong reasons.”
But Schumer’s announcement Sunday comes amid a wave of calls for the GOP to change course on immigration after former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney was soundly rejected by Latino voters during this year’s presidential election.
“The Republican Party has learned that being anti-immigrant doesn’t work for them politically,” Schumer said.
Watch Schumer discuss his apparently reborn partnership with Graham in this video, posted Sunday by Crooks and Liars, below.