- (Photo: REUTERS/Gary Cameron)
In two weeks, May 9, the U.S. Senate will begin its formal revision of the immigration reform proposal recently submitted by a bipartisan group of senators.
In a presentation in the Senate on Thursday, one of the senators in that bipartisan group also known as the "Gang of Eight", Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) alluded to the timetable while urging his colleagues to work together to fix the immigration system he thinks is currently a "disaster".
"This is a country that doesn't need to be convinced of the benefits of legal immigration because virtually every single one of us including those watching here now in this building and across this country are all but a generation or two removed from someone that came here from somewhere else," he said in video clip posted on YouTube.
"The problem that we face is that we have a legal immigration system that is broken. It really hasn't worked in a very long time and our efforts to reform it over the last 20 to 30 years have failed," he added.
Rubio then gave a summary of why the current immigration system was ineffective highlighting issues like its complexity and bureaucracy and the poor enforcement of immigration laws.
He explained that the vision he had for immigration reform was to help create a system that was more modern and relevant to the needs of the United States.
"It should modernize our system, it should create real systems for enforcement, so we never have this problem again and it deals with the people who are here illegally in a way that's compassionate and humane," said Rubio.
After calling attention to the pending date to start the revision of the proposal, Rubio urged his colleagues to feel free to share their concerns about the bill and submit their ideas on how it could be improved and not just criticize it.
"Let's work on changing it [current immigration laws]," said Rubio. "If you believe that what we have today is broken, if you believe that the status quo on immigration is chaos, disaster, if that's what you believe as I do then let's solve it. The way you solve it is by working together. In essence, don't just be against it, offer ideas to change it," he added.
He pointed to border security concerns as one of the more contentious provisions in the recent proposal and specifically asked his colleagues in the Senate to share whatever solutions that had on the subject.
Once the revision of the bill is complete in the Senate it will be forwarded to the U.S. House of Representatives for further review.
Earlier this month, the senators presented their proposal for sweeping reforms to the current U.S. immigration system. Its signature feature maps a 13-year path to citizenship for more than 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the country.
An eight-member bipartisan team in the House is also working on a separate immigration bill which they noted last week, has a lot of in common with the Senate's proposal.
"We are also working on a good faith, bipartisan effort in the House. We believe we will soon agree on a reasonable, common-sense plan to finally secure our borders and strengthen our economy, with a tough but fair process that respects the rule of law so immigrants can contribute to our country," noted the group in a joint statement last week.