(L to R) U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) attend a press conference on bipartisan framework for comprehensive immigration reform on Capitol Hill, in Washington D.C., capital of the United States, Jan. 28, 2013. (Xinhua/Zhang Jun)
WASHINGTON, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) -- A bipartisan group of key senators of the United States announced on Monday their plan to overhaul the country's immigration policies, a day before U.S. President Barack Obama is set to make a highlighted move over immigration reform.
A TOUGH PATH
The group of eight senators announced their framework of principles to guide the immigration reform at a news conference.
Democratic Senator Charles Shummer said the group have agreed " on a set of bipartisan principles for comprehensive immigration reform legislation that we hope can pass the Senate in overwhelming and bipartisan fashion."
Calling the bipartisan blueprint "a major breakthrough," Shummer stressed that the key of the agreement is "to recognize that Americans overwhelming oppose illegal immigration, and support legal immigration."
The first pillar of the plan is to "create a tough, but fair path to citizenship" for illegal immigrants currently living in the United States, said Shummer.
The plan also includes other three basic points: overhauling the legal immigration system, including awarding green cards to immigrants with advanced degrees in science, math, technology or engineering from an American university; creating an effective employer verification program to ensure that employers do not hire illegal immigrants; plus some worker programs to serve the country 's future workforce needs, including allowing more low-skill workers into the country.
"We recognize the immigration system is broken," the lawmakers wrote in the introduction to their five-page framework. "And while border security has improved significantly over the last two administrations, we still don't have a functioning immigration system."
The group of Senators including top ranking Democratic leaders as well as leading Republicans on immigration reform like Hispanic Senator Marco Rubio and veteran Senator John McCain.
However, the comprehensive immigration reform is well expected to go through a tough path, with major opposition from the Republicans-led U.S. House.
"The Speaker welcomes the work of leaders like Senator Rubio on this issue, and is looking forward to learning more about the proposal in the coming days," said House Speaker John Boehner's spokesman on Monday.
U.S. President Barack Obama welcomes the Senators' proposals, including some principles that "mirror the president's blueprint," said the White House in response to the senate's move.
"This is a big deal. This is an important development," said White House spokesman Jay Carney at his daily briefing.
Obama will begin his formal push for immigration reform with a trip to Las Vegas, Nevada, Tuesday and a highlighted speech. He is expected to lay out some of his immigration reform agenda, trying to keep leading on the issue.
"It is something that he has spoken about quite frequently since his re-election and made clear his commitment to act on this early in his second term. It's now the second week of his second term, and he is acting on it," said Carney.
Obama vowed to push on immigration reforms during his re- election bid last year and won over two thirds of Latino voters. In his first term, he didn't push hard for major legislative solutions to the country's immigration policies. Instead, he launched programs to stop deporting some young immigrants during a tight campaign last summer, an effort that was believed to further boost his support among Latino voters.