The bipartisan U.S. Senate panel working on an immigration reform deal could be ready to unveil the details of the agreement by Tuesday. (Photo : Reuters)
The details on a new comprehensive immigration bill can be expected to be unveiled as soon as Tuesday after the bipartisan senate panel working on the bill reached an agreement on all major issues.
Sources told CNN Friday that negotiators outside and inside the group have largely agreed on the issue of wages and visas for undocumented farm workers, which was one of the last major hurdles left in the debate for immigration reform.
"After months of negotiation, I can announce that a bipartisan agreement has been reached addressing key issues of agricultural workers in the forthcoming comprehensive immigration reform bill," Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, wrote in a joint statement on Friday.
The agreement, according to Feinstein, has resolved several issues including wage levels, agricultural guest worker visas and protections for U.S. workers.
Sen. Feinstein has met with Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and farm worker representatives on the issue of immigrant farm workers in the last few weeks, according to the statement.
Bennett said that the agreement "means that Colorado growers and producers from the Western Slope to the Eastern Plains won't have to watch their crops rot in the ground or wither on the vines while also providing important protections for workers."
"This is a crucial step as momentum builds toward introducing a bill to fix broken our immigration system," he added.
Sen. Hatch noted that the deal balanced the needs of both American and immigrant farm workers, but he stopped just short of issuing an endorsement of the bipartisan senate panel's plan.
"...I understand this will be included in the Gang of 8 proposal, no one should assume that I'm backing their overall plan. It has not been released and I need to read it and understand its full implications before deciding whether or not to support it," Hatch wrote.
Nontheless, with the agreement on immigrant farm workers now seemingly in the books, sources are telling CNN that the panel is set to unveil the finalized details on their comprehensive immigration reform bill on Tuesday.
The bill is reportedly set to include a 13-year pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S., which would include a 10-year wait for undocumented workers to get green cards and another three-year waiting period to become citizens. Fins and back taxes would also have to be paid by undocumented workers, who would also have to pass a background check.
The bill is also set to create a system to analyze the state of security of the border.
The first meeting on the immigration legislation is set to begin on Wednesday before members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, with a period of time for more debate and additions to the bill by legislators in time to be put on the floor for the Senate in June, according to sources.
The bill is also including a cutoff date that would bar undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. after December 2011 from seeking legal status and citizenship.
Sources told ABC News that the idea, which came from Republicans, was created in order to allow only undocumented immigrants who have assimilated into their communities to stay in the U.S.
But with thousands of immigrants arriving every year, the cutoff date could leave hundreds of thousands of immigrants without a way to become legal U.S. citizens, which could stir opposition from pro-immigration groups and Democrats.