A comprehensive new bipartisan immigration bill was unveiled by the US Senate on Wednesday, which if passed, would provide a path to citizenship for the nation's some eleven million undocumented immigrants and increase border security.
Under the bill, immigrants could obtain temporary legal status for work, to drive and after ten years they could file for a green card.
Passage of the massive 844-page bill would be the country's first major overhaul of US immigration laws since 1986 and has come after months of late-night wrangling among Senators on both sides of the aisle.
Agence France Presse reported said while there will likely still be numerous hearings ahead, the so-called "Gang of Eight" group of senators who put together the bill see this as a "starting point" and are confident it will pass.
"Our immigration system is broken and it is time for a national conversation about how to fix it," said the senators in a statement.
"We believe common-sense immigration reform is vital in order to secure America's borders, advance our economic growth, and provide fuller access to the American dream."
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The bipartisan bill is the product of four Democratic and four Republican senators. Democrats Charles Schumer of New York, Michael Bennet of Colorado, Dick Durbin of Illinois and Robert Menendez of New Jersey worked with their Republican counterparts, Marco Rubio of Florida, John McCain and Jeff Flake of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
The measure is based on the Dream Act, an earlier bill that grants legal status to undocumented young people up until the age of 29. The new proposal has no age cap.
The Senate Judiciary committee begins two days of hearings on the bill this Friday.