Two retiring Republican senators filed a bill to "get the ball rolling" on the thorny issue of immigration reform.
Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, and Jon Kyl of Arizona introduced the Achieve Act, a measure that would give legal status to children of illegal immigrants, provided those children go to college or join the military.
The plan covers those who came to America before they turned 14 and are now under the age of 28.
"These young people are in a situation where they've known really only American life. And you say, 'Go home' and they say 'We are home,'" Hutchison said.
"We have to get this ball rolling," Kyle urged. "We have to have a discussion that is sensible, that is calm, that discusses all the different aspects of the issue. And this particular part of immigration reform seemed like a logical place to begin."
Some Latino activists are already opposing the Achieve Act, saying it only offers a legal status, not a guaranteed path to citizenship.
"What is needed here is a robust piece of legislation that reflects the times and what the country expects to be done," said Clarissa Martinez, director of immigration at the National Council of La Raza, the country's largest Latino civil rights organization.