What Could Bipartisan Immigration Reform Look Like?

Schumer and Graham released "pillars" of reform in 2010.

Nov. 11. 2012—, 2012 -- Both Democratic and Republican leaders are talking about immigration reform as a top legislative priority. But what do they mean when they say immigration reform?

A look back to the last bipartisan effort on immigration reform two years ago offers some insight. In 2010, Senators Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) crafted a blueprint for reform, which they described in a joint op-ed in The Washington Post. The senators plan to renew their push for the blueprint again, Schumer said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press."

These were the four pillars from their 2010 effort, which will likely inform new discussions:

1. Creating a new Social Security card that includes biometric data, like a fingerprint or an eye scan. The info on the card would not be kept in a government database and the card itself would not serve as a tracking device. The reason for the updated card, according to the op-ed, was "to ensure that illegal workers cannot get jobs."

2. Strengthening the border and immigration enforcement effort

3. Creating a temporary worker program

4. Offering a "tough but fair" path to legalization for undocumented people already here

A few surprising voices in the political sphere are also showing their support in these early talks about reform.

After the election, an aide to Republican Senator Eric Cantor (Va.) spoke to The Wall Street Journal about the issue, saying, "We're going to address the 11 million people." Whether that means that leading Republicans will support a path to citizenship or some other type of status, like permanent residency, remains to be seen.

FOX New's Sean Hannity, a conservative political commentator, has already endorsed citizenship for certain undocumented immigrants. "If people are here, law-abiding, participating for years, their kids are born here, you know, first secure the border, pathway to citizenship, done."