A bipartisan group of U.S. senators has agreed on a historic plan for comprehensive immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants living in the country.
The landmark agreement, announced Monday, also will call for increased border security, employer verification at the workplace, more visas for highly skilled immigrants and a guest worker program. President Obama supports the plan and will throw his weight behind it during a speech in Las Vegas on Tuesday, according to White House sources.
Why has agreement come between two parties who have fought each over immigration constantly during the last few years?
The simple answer is voters in last November's election. Republicans took a beating, losing 71% of the Hispanic vote and have come to recognize that they need to abandon their hard-line stance on immigration reform.
"The election was a mandate to enact comprehensive immigration reform," Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., one of the senators in the bipartisan group, told ABC News over the weekend. "Things that weren't on the table are on the table now."
The other senators in the group are Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Michael Bennet, D-Colo., John McCain, R-Ariz., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.