Hatch's vote for final passage.
In striking such compromises, Schumer emphasized that a deal would be far better than the immigration status quo, "where we turn away people who will create jobs and let people cross the border who take away American jobs," the senator said.
"That was my pitch: that the status quo was so awful that everyone should give a little to improve their own situation, even if they didn't get everything they want," Schumer said.
Still, crafting a bill that would win widespread support was by no means easy.
In fact, less than two weeks before the Senate passed the bill, it nearly died.
Republicans were growing increasingly worried that the bill didn't include strong enough measures to protect the southern border, and Schumer -- who counted only 60 votes for the measure at the time -- feared that the number of yea votes might actually fall rather than rise.
But then, a bit of good luck led to some last-minute legislating that salvaged the bill.
On June 18, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the Senate immigration bill would grow the economy by 3.3 percent while whittling the federal deficit by $197 billion over the next decade.
Armed with an unexpected cash windfall, Republican Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee and John Hoeven of North Dakota -- working with Schumer behind the scenes -- developed the idea of a "border surge" to win the support of senators worried about border security. The surge would add 20,000 agents and 700 miles of fencing at the Mexican border while spending $3.2 billion on drones and other high-tech equipment aimed at tracking down people who enter the U.S. illegally.
"Corker said: 'It's a great idea, let's do it,' " Schumer said of the surge. "I tested it out on (Senator) Marco Rubio in the gym, and he liked it."
The sign-off from Rubio, a Florida Republican who's a key player in the Gang of Eight and a likely candidate for president in 2016, was just the start. Thanks to the surge, the number of Republicans backing the bill started swelling -- and senators from both parties took to the floor to praise both the bill and the New York senator who was shepherding it to passage.
Schumer "played such an important and valuable leadership role," said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
"None of this would have been possible without Chuck Schumer," added Sen. Michael Bennet, a Colorado Democrat and, like McCain, a member of the Gang of Eight.
Senate staffers privately say Schumer's work with on the immigration bill could pay off for him personally, bolstering his likely bid for Democratic majority leader when Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada eventually steps down.
More immediately, though, the Gang of Eight's handiwork faces a gang of recalcitrant Republicans in the House.
Many House Republicans are unsure about the border surge, saying they would want to make sure it would be effective before offering anything close to legal status to the nation's illegal immigrants.
"Before we get to that issue, we have to make sure that our borders and our immigration system work, and are firm and protected," said Reed, the GOP congressman from Corning. "Once you have that conversation, then you can move to the next conversation, which is what do we do about the 11 million who are here."
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