Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Thursday a full-fledged debate on immigration reform will be scheduled and a decision on the bill may not be reached until later this year, the Los Angeles Times reported.
"This time we're going to get Republican votes," Reid said, adding that the Senate would try to "legislate the way we are supposed to legislate."
In 2007, the Senate failed to pass an immigration bill that faced strong opposition from Senate Republicans who felt they were hit unexpectedly by the bill.
"It was a mistake not to go through committee process the last time, as difficult as it is," said Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., who was a part of the immigration task force in 2007. "One of our goals is to pass this not with 60 votes — we want a large number of Republicans to vote for this because we think that will encourage the House to go forward and pass a bill."
A key issue dividing Congress along party lines is agreeing on conditions to be met before illegal immigrants could be put on the path to citizenship, The Washington Post reported.
A path to citizenship is "certainly going to be a problem in the House," said Rep. Bob Goodlatte,R-Va., chairman of the Judiciary Committee, which will hold a hearing next week on the issue. "There are a lot of options between deporting 11 million people, which most people don't believe will happen, and giving [them] citizenship."
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama has urged Congress to act in a "timely fashion."
"What we don't want to do is create some kind of vague prospect in the future that somehow comprehensive immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship will happen, you know, manana [Spanish for 'tomorrow']," Obama told Univision.