In a rare show of bipartisanship, U.S. Senate Republicans and Democrats agree on a sweeping plan to reform immigration.
Senior Republican Senator John McCain.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) US SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN SAYING:
"We have been too content for too long to allow individuals to mow our lawn, serve us food, clean our homes and even watch our children while not affording them any of the benefits that make our country so great. I think everyone agrees that it is not beneficial for our country to have these people here hidden in the shadows."
The plan includes a so-called 'path to citizenship' in which undocumented immigrants would be allowed to register with the government, pay a fine, and then be given probationary legal status allowing them to work while they wait to qualify for citizenship.
In the past, conservative Republicans have balked at any mention of citizenship saying it amounts to amnesty.
To sweeten the deal for Republicans, the plan also includes ramped up security measures along the U.S.- Mexico border.
The plan has a far way to go before becoming law. The House needs to sign off, as does the President who's outlining his own policies on the matter later Tuesday.
But neither party can deny the growing power of the Hispanic vote- which gives the topic certain political weight and cause for conservatives to rethink their position and rhetoric.
Senators agree on immigration reform (1:38)
Jan. 29 - Bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers agree on an immigration reform plan. Julie Noce reports. ( Transcript )