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White House optimistic for new immigration reform plan

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Updated: 4/01/2013 4:13 pm
Gryphon in Washington DC, immigrant workers serve as janitors, food runners, bussers, and other hard to fill positions.

They are the backbone of what we do here in the service industry, says restaurant owner, Tony Hudgins.

Tony Hudgins recently opened the sports bar and restaurant and noticed the need for a new visa program as part of immigration reform.

He's hopeful about the deal reached late last week by big business and labor groups.

Starting in 2015, it would allow up to 200,000 people into the U-S a year to fill unskilled jobs in restaurants hotels, construction and retail.

After one year those workers could seek permanent status.

"When there aren't enough willing and able Americans, it ought to be possible to hire an immigrant," says ImmigrationWorks President, Tamar Jacoby.

Labor groups had resisted the deal until confirming the new workers wouldn't be paid less than those already in the U.S.

The deal clears the way for a bipartisan group of senators to introduce an immigration overhaul later this month.

It would secure the border and provide a path to citizenship for the roughly 11 million illegal immigrants already in country.

The White House is staying cautiously optimistic.

"You think it's a done deal? I, ah, you've been around long enough to know that we wouldn't want to make that assumption," says White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio, considered key to garnering Republican support, also cautioned the negotiation on an immigration package isn't finished yet.

-- Danielle Leigh, NBC News, Washington.

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