Chuck Schumer unveils an immigration plan with ‘a darn good chance’

Schumer on 'Meet the Press.' ()
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On "Meet the Press" Sunday morning, David Gregory asked Sen. Chuck Schumer if he had some news to make on immigration.

"Yeah, I think so," said Schumer. "Senator [Lindsey] Graham and I have talked, and we are resuming the talks that were broken off two years ago.

"We had put together a comprehensive detailed blueprint on immigration reform. It had the real potential for bipartisan support, based on the theory that most Americans are for legal immigration, but very much against illegal immigration." 

At the same time, Graham, a Republican from South Carolina who has long argued the party needs to expand its base, was on "Face on the Nation," announcing the same thing. "I intend to tear this wall down and pass an immigration reform bill that's an American solution to American problem," Graham said.

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Schumer and Graham were among a number of senators from both parties who fanned out across the Sunday shows to argue whether Democrats had won a mandate on Tuesday night, when President Obama trounced MItt Romney by more than 100 electoral votes, and Democrats gained two seats in the Senate, despite having to defend some Republican-leaning territory.

Democrats claimed there was an obvious mandate for raising taxes on the highest-earners, and got some support from conservative columnist Bill Kristol on "Fox News Sunday."

"Don't scream and yell when one person says, 'You know what, it won't kill the country if we raise taxes a little bit on millionaires,'" Kristol said. "It really won't, I don't think."

Even Oklahoma senator Tom Coburn conceded that most Americans were for such a raise, though he disputed the need to raise the rate, and instead talked about closing loopholes.

But there was more common ground to be found on immigration.

Schumer said his compromise with Graham would have four main planks: closing the border; creating a "non-forgible document" that would allow employers to tell which immigrants are legal, with stiff penalties for hiring illegals; letting in legal immigrants we need; and a path to citizenship "that's fair, that says you have to learn English, that you have to go to the back of the line, you gotta have a job, and you can't commit crimes."

Schumer said the two senators were talking to colleagues, and there was "a darn good chance" the blueprint could result in comprehensive reform.

Republicans have undergone a rapid evolution on immigration reform since Tuesday, when President Obama won roughly 70 percent of the Hispanic vote, which increased to fully 10 percent of the electorate.

Mitt Romney's rightward tack on immigration reform during the Republican primary--which included tough talk about "self-deportation" and dismissive comments about the DREAM Act--is widely thought to have crippled his subsequent appeals to Hispanic voters.

Later in the show, Chuck Todd showed a map of the ten states with the highest Hispanic population, which he said combine for 216 electoral votes, eight of which were won by Obama, including Florida, where the growing Latino population threatens to shift the swing state from a very slight Republican lean to a solidly Democratic one.

Steve Schmidt, a Republican strategist, said part of the problem was that too mn

"It's good to hear that Chuck Schumer and Lindsey Graham are going to start advancing immigration reform...because we have to get this off the table," said Republican strategist Steve Schmidt during the "Meet the Press" roundtable.

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