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Schumer: Immigration bill will clear Senate; warns House GOP

Senate Judiciary Committee members Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.,

Senate Judiciary Committee members Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., left, and Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill. confer on Capitol Hill in Washington. (May 20, 2013) Photo Credit: AP

The Gang of Eight's bipartisan legislative steamroller will win approval for immigration overhaul in the Senate by July 4 and could push reluctant Republicans to rethink their opposition in the House, Sen. Charles Schumer predicted on Sunday.

Speaking on NBC's "Meet the Press," the New York Democrat said the immigration reform bill will reach the Senate floor on June 10 and he forecast the legislation will get up to 70 votes, "which means a lot of Republicans." That strong GOP support in the Senate could "change the equation in the House," he said.

At the same time, Schumer bluntly warned House Republicans that they could be consigned to minority-party status "for a generation" if they seek to block the immigration legislation.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is "in a box," Schumer said. "There are about 60-70 of his people who are against any immigration reform."

House lawmakers, however, have pledged to put together their own measure -- likely taking components of the comprehensive Senate plan one at a time and adding their own priorities.

"We think it's better to do it with a step-by-step approach," House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) said on "Fox News Sunday."

"We'll continue down that path, but the final outcome in terms of the form of the legislation is not yet known," he added.

Schumer is a member of the Gang of Eight, a bipartisan group that works to find common ground on key legislation.

For months, the group's four Democratic senators met with four Republican colleagues behind closed doors to develop a proposal that would enact new border controls and enforcement mechanisms in the workplace, allow tens of thousands of workers into the country legally for high- and low-skilled jobs and create a 13-year path to citizenship for those already living here illegally. It passed through the Senate Judiciary Committee last month by a vote of 13 to 5; three Republicans joined the Democratic majority.

In 2012, President Barack Obama won re-election with 71 percent of Hispanic voters and 73 percent of Asian voters backing him. A thwarted immigration overhaul could send those voting blocs more solidly to Democrats' side.

"We are hard at work on this problem," Goodlatte said. "We have a broken immigration system in the country, it needs to be fixed, our legal immigration, our enforcement and figuring out the appropriate legal status for people who are not lawfully present in the United States all need to be addressed," Goodlatte said.

With The Associated Press

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