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Congress: Eight is Enough?

“A bipartisan group of leading senators has reached agreement on the principles of sweeping legislation to rewrite the nation's immigration laws,” AP writes. “The deal, which was to be announced at a news conference Monday afternoon, covers border security, guest workers and employer verification, as well as a path to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants already in this country. Although thorny details remain to be negotiated and success is far from certain, the development heralds the start of what could be the most significant effort in years toward overhauling the nation's inefficient patchwork of immigration laws.”

Here’s the group of eight senators who endorsed the proposals: Democrats Charles Schumer (NY), Dick Durbin (IL), Robert Menendez (NJ) and Michael Bennet (CO), plus Republicans John McCain (AZ), Lindsey Graham (SC), Marco Rubio (FL) and Jeff Flake (AZ).

Here’s the document.

The Washington Post: “A key group of senators from both parties will unveil on Monday the framework of a broad overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws, including a pathway to citizenship for more than 11 million illegal immigrants.”

The Post calls the bipartisan push something that would have been “unimaginable just months ago on one of the country’s most emotionally divisive issues.” More: “On Tuesday, President Obama will travel to Las Vegas to urge quick action; he told Hispanic members of Congress at a White House meeting Friday that the issue is his top legislative priority.”

The Miami Herald: “A group of eight Democratic and Republicans senators, including Florida’s Marco Rubio, will officially release a bipartisan immigration plan, just a day before the president addresses the highly charged topic in a Las Vegas speech.” More: Most controversially, the proposal would give a pathway to residency – and even citizenship – to many of the estimated 11 million immigrants unlawfully in the United States. While some conservatives call it amnesty, Rubio says it’s not because the immigrants would have to pay fines, back taxes and undergo a criminal background check – a similar proposal made by President Obama in May 2011.”

Politico: “A powerful group of senators from both parties has reached a deal on the outlines of a comprehensive immigration overhaul, a development that will drive an emotional debate on a hot-button issue unseen in Washington for more than half a decade.” More: The broad agreement by the influential Gang of Eight senators amounts to the most serious bipartisan effort to act on the highly charged issue since George W. Bush’s comprehensive measure was defeated in the Senate in 2007. It remains to be seen if Obama will embrace the Senate effort, or how closely his own proposal hews to the Senate one. But the Senate proposal is expected to take precedence on Capitol Hill, given that bipartisan backing will be crucial to getting anything through the Democratic-controlled Senate — let alone the Republican-controlled House.”

National Journal: “Behind-the-scenes discussions have been taking place with different iterations of the group since the November elections. They had planned to release their principles by Feb. 1 but the accelerated deadline means they will go public ahead of a speech by President Obama in Las Vegas on Tuesday that will address immigration reform. They hope to have a bill by the end of March.”

Ron Fournier: “The GOP wants to survive. That is one interpretation of the move toward amnesty and broad immigration reform spearheaded by a bipartisan group of senators today. The other is that elections have consequences.”

Hot Air’s Allah Pundit: “Before you start grumbling, look: The big cave on amnesty is coming. It’s a fait accompli. Make peace with it. Latino voters didn’t cost the GOP the election this time but the demographics are such that that won’t always be true if Republicans continue to lose the group by 70/30 or 75/25 margins. Now is the time to show some goodwill by legalizing millions of illegal immigrants and adding them, eventually, to the voter rolls. Maybe then we’ll only lose 60/40.”

But Red State’s Daniel Horowitz is skeptical. Two of his reasons, include make sure “we are not saddled with 12 million new consumers of the welfare state;” and “we don’t have 12 million new Democrat voters.”