WASHINGTON -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) predicted in an interview with ABC's "This Week" on Sunday that Congress will pass comprehensive immigration reform, despite opposition in the Republican-led House.
"It's certainly gonna pass the Senate," Reid told host George Stephanopoulos of immigration reform. "And it would be a bad day for our country and a bad day for the Republican Party if they continue standing in the way of this. So the answer is yes."
Reid previously said immigration reform is at the top of his priority list for the year, along with gun legislation. He lent his support last week to a bipartisan immigration framework announced by the "gang of eight" -- four Republican senators, four Democratic senators -- which would give a pathway to citizenship to undocumented immigrants after certain border security provisions are met and would streamline the legal immigration system.
He told Stephanopoulos that he expects the conversations to become much more difficult as lawmakers draft actual legislation, but that he is optimistic, alluding to the concern from many Republicans that they are alienating Latino voters by opposing immigration reform.
"I think things are looking really good," Reid said. "They're good-looking for a number of reasons. One, it's the right thing to do. And number two, the Republicans can no longer stop this. They've tried it. It hasn't worked. Look what they tried to do to me a couple years ago. Look what they tried to do with the president just this last time. And it just didn't work."
One of the major questions about the gang-of-eight framework is how it would define border security. Undocumented immigrants already living in the United States would be immediately eligible for legal provisional status, but could not receive green cards until certain security enforcement metrics had been met.
Reid said those metrics are yet to be determined, dismissing a question about the call for broadly defined "operational control" of the borders from gang-of-eight member Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
"I don't know what that means and I don't think he does, either," Reid said. "The fact is we have some metrics we're talking about, some numbers, and we can do that. But this legislation is going to pass."
The Senate majority leader also said that some Republicans may try to pin their lack of support on other issues, such as whether same-sex couples should receive equal treatment under immigration law, but that in the end they should support reform.
"If they're looking for an excuse not to support this legislation, this is another one," Reid said. "But the American people are past excuses. They want this legislation passed."
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