The immigration bill survived a major filibuster test Wednesday in a 67-31 vote that signals the measure is on a speedy path out of the Senate this week while underscoring just how far the bill has come since the last debate in 2007.
When lawmakers announce a broad immigration bill this week, they hope to take advantage of a marked shift in the way Americans see illegal immigration, with more voters willing to embrace legalization as a solution.
President Obama's speech Friday to one of the country's largest Hispanic organizations has changed from a potential trip through the gantlet into what amounts to a victory lap after he announced last week that he was unilaterally halting deportations of young illegal immigrants.
Mitt Romney took a hard line on illegal immigration, was labeled anti-immigrant and had a national network of Hispanic Republicans come out against him, yet he won Florida's primary by carrying more than half of Hispanics who voted - better than he did among whites.
Congressional Democrats decamped from Washington this week for the campaign trail, saying they've checked off most of the boxes on their legislative wish list: health care, the stimulus package and new rules of the road for Wall Street.
Republicans were quick to dismiss the Senate majority leader's plan to grant citizenship to some illegal immigrants who came to the United States when they were children as a political ploy aimed at wooing voters and pro-illegal-immigrant groups before the November election.