Immigration Takes Center Stage

Exactly seven days since President Obama’s inauguration, a series of events this week suggests that immigration has the best shot at being the first big legislative action — and potential battle — of 2013 (outside of the budget, of course).

Today, a bipartisan group of eight senators (Democrats Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin, Bob Menendez, and Republicans John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio and Jeff Flake) are laying out four agreed-on principles to achieve comprehensive immigration reform.

Also today, at 11:00 am ET, several organizations pushing immigration reform are holding a press conference at the National Press Club to issue a “call to action” on the subject. And tomorrow, Obama heads to Las Vegas to deliver his own remarks on immigration.

The bipartisan group of senators, in particular, is a big deal. Indeed, this appears to be the first time that McCain has signed on to a top Obama legislative priority since the presidential first took office.

And here are their four principles: 1) create a “tough but fair path to citizenship” for illegal immigrants that’s contingent on border security; 2) reform the system in a way that helps build the economy; 3) establish an effective employment verification program; and 4) reform the system of admitting future workers.

Five of the eight senators (Rubio, McCain, Schumer, Durbin, and Menendez) will appear together today in DC at 2:30 pm to officially unveil their agreement; the other three have scheduling conflicts in their home states.