Senator Charles Schumer says immigration reform is very much on the agenda.
Speaking at a meeting hosted by the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform, Schumer said he was working with Senate colleagues on the new bill co-authored with Senator Lindsey Graham.
"We need Republican support on this," he said. "We don't want Lindsey Graham out there on his own."
Schumer said the bill would create a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants once certain conditions were met.
The conditions include proficiency in English and no criminal record.
Schumer also said that the bill would create a new tamper-proof ID card. "Think of it as a security card with your picture," he said.
Schumer revealed that immigrants would be eligible for green cards within as little as three months if the bill became law.
He said it was long past time for America to create a new immigration system.
"America needs immigrants he said. Immigrants help keep America competitive.
Schumer's bill would replace the current family-based immigration system with one that awards points to prospective immigrants based on skills.
Schumer said the bill was supported by big business, labor and religious groups.
The ground might be shifting in Schumer's favor with new economic data that spells out the value of immigrants to the American economy.
Just Friday, a survey in The New York Times Friday showed that the cities, which were coping better in the recession, were those with large numbers of immigrants.
The Times found that "Cities with thriving immigrant populations — with high-earning and lower-wage workers — tended to be those that prospered the most."