The Senate’s so-called “gang of eight,” who crafted the bipartisan immigration bill (S.744), filed the first amendment on Tuesday to be considered during the upcoming mark up.  Mark up is scheduled to start in the Senate Judiciary Committee May 9, and the Senate schedule has projected a deadline of July 4 to finish the immigration measure.  As previously announced by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT), all amendments committee members wish to make to the bill are due by May 7.

The substitute to the proposed “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigrations Modernization Act” makes mostly minor changes to the original bill regarding agricultural guestworkers from outside the United States.  The substitute would also allow undocumented immigrants who successfully pursue actions against their employers for labor condition and wage and hour violations to receive back pay and other remedies, and immigrant workers who lose their work authorization as a result  of their employers committing these violations would be entitled to reinstatement.

“I pledge that I will do everything in my power as Majority Leader to get a bill across the finish line,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said Wednesday. “Nothing short of success is acceptable to me.” The House of Representatives is expected to take on immigration reform as well, but House leaders have said they will pass smaller reforms one-by-one rather than by a comprehensive bill.

Meanwhile, according to a survey released yesterday, the majority of Americans favor giving illegal immigrants a way to earn citizenship.  In the Public Religion Research Institute poll, in partnership with the Brookings Institute, 63 percent of Americans said they support a path to citizenship for the undocumented if they meet certain requirements.  Seventy-one percent of Democrats surveyed and 53 percent of Republicans backed eventually allowing illegal immigrants to become Americans.  The poll also found that fewer Americans thought that the best way to solve the country’s immigration problems was to secure U.S. borders and arrest and deport everyone living illegally in the United States.  This year, 29 percent of those surveyed said that was the best policy, down from 36 percent in 2011.

The survey, conducted between March 6 and 10, was based on 4,465 English and Spanish telephone interviews with adults.  The margin of error is plus or minus 1.7 percentage points.