WASHINGTON, April 29 (UPI) -- Senate Democratic leaders said Thursday they will move forward with immigration reform that would include instituting national ID cards.
The decision to forge legislation without any Republicans on board portends an uphill battle for Senate Democrats, but Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said they are up to the challenge, the Huffington Post reported.
"We can do more than one thing at once," Reid was quoted as saying.
President Barack Obama tossed in his support for action on the issue.
"The continued failure of the federal government to fix the broken immigration system will leave the door open to a patchwork of actions at the state and local level that are inconsistent and, as we have seen recently, often misguided," Obama said in a statement.
"The proposal outlined today in the Senate is a very important step in the process of fixing our nation's broken immigration system. I am especially pleased to see that this detailed outline is consistent with the bipartisan framework presented by Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) last month, and is grounded in the principles of responsibility and accountability.
"The next critical step is to iron out the details of a bill. We welcome that discussion, and my administration will play an active role in engaging partners on both sides of the aisle to work toward a bipartisan solution that is based on the fundamental concept of accountability that the American people expect and deserve."
The Democrats' outline of potential immigration reform legislation includes a series of border security measures strategists said were necessary to garner Republican support, CNN reported.
A tough illegal immigration law in Arizona sparked a wave of protest from civil and human rights groups, religious leaders and others. Among other things, the law makes it a state crime for undocumented immigrants to be in Arizona and requires law enforcement officials to check documentation of people they suspect of being in the country illegally. It would take effect during the summer if it isn't challenged in court.
"The system is broken," Schumer said. "We need to fix this system. I'm meeting with Republicans right now to try to come up with a bipartisan bill that we can pass."
The Huffington Post said the legislative summary describes the national ID cards as "fraud-resistant, tamper-resistant, wear resistant and machine-readable Social Security cards containing a photograph and an electronically coded micro-processing chip which possesses a unique biometric identifier for the authorized card-bearer."