4:15pm

Fri February 1, 2013
Politics

Bennet: Climate for Immigration Reform 'Best In 20 Years'

On the heels of a broad bipartisan framework for immigration reform released by eight U.S. Senators including Michael Bennet, the Colorado Democrat reached out to Latino leaders Friday to discuss the agreement in Denver.

The framework [.pdf] seeks a balance between creating a path to citizenship that’s ‘tough but fair’ while furthering efforts to secure the country’s borders. It also seeks to reform the legal immigration process, improve employment verification systems, and address the process for admitting immigrant workers.

“This set of principles came out of a lengthy discussion between people of two different political parties.” Bennet says. “I think it does, at least as far as I know today, hit a sweet spot in terms of balancing the various equities that people have and the politics around this.”

Speaking to a standing room only crowd at a small Latino owned restaurant in northwest Denver, the Senator says current immigration reform talks in Congress are the most promising he’s seen in 20 years.

He acknowledged concerns from members in the audience about how to move the debate and legislation forward, but stressed the Senate’s framework is a good starting point.

“I think what people are going to see is the way these pieces relate to each other works pretty well and not just politically but substantively. And it gives me hope that we’re going to get it passed.” 

Estimates say over 11 million immigrants could be living in the United States illegally.

The ‘Gang of Eight’ includes Republican Senators John McCain and Marco Rubio as well as Democrats Chuck Schumer and Dick Durbin.