A House alternative
While most eyes are focused on the Senate, a bipartisan group of House members is working on its own version of immigration reform. Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, told reporters last month that the members are "essentially in agreement" on a plan to deal with the issue.
The House members involved in the talks are Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Florida; Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Texas; Rep. John Carter, R-Texas; Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho; Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-California; Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Illinois; Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-California; and Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Kentucky.
The members of the House group have been reluctant to talk publicly about their bipartisan negotiations. Some of them have been working on the issue since Congress failed to get a deal done in 2007.
However, two members of the House "Gang of Eight" sounded confident Sunday that their upcoming proposal will ultimately mesh well with the Senate's proposal, despite expected battles over the issue in both chambers in the months ahead.
"I am very, very optimistic that the House of Representatives is going to have a plan that is going to be able to go to a conference with the Senate in which we're going to be able to resolve differences," Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Illinois, said on CNN's "State of the Union."
He was joined by his Republican colleague Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida.
Asked if the House version would have a similar border security prerequisite, the two House members seemed less certain.
"You can't have a bill without border security. You just can't," Diaz-Balart said.
Pressed further on whether that provision would be a priority, Gutierrez said, "I think we can do this simultaneously."
"I think first thing we're going to do is, we're going to put people in a safe place. That is 11 million people, you can give them a work permit, Social Security card, driver's license," he added. "And then the second part is the path to the green card, that permanent residency that leads to citizenship."