"Gang of Eight" immigration reform bill faces first vote in Senate

HIDALGO, TX - APRIL 11: An agent from the U.S. Office of Air and Marine stands near the U.S.-Mexico border on April 11, 2013 in Hidalgo, Texas. According to the U.S. Border Patrol, undocumented immigrant crossings have increased more than 50 percent in the Texas Rio Grande Valley sector in the last year. Border Patrol agents say they have also seen an additional surge in immigrant traffic since immigration reform negotiations began this year in Washington D.C. Proposed refoms could provide a path to citizenship for many of the estimated 11 million undocumented workers living in the United States. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
John Moore/Getty Images

(CBS News) The Senate votes for the first time on Tuesday on a major immigration reform bill. The result could set the stage for weeks of discussion.

The vote will decide whether to begin debate on this major immigration reform plan that was drafted by eight senators -- four Republicans, four Democrats, dubbed the "Gang of Eight."

Their bill made it out of committee last month where it underwent a lot of changes. This is the next and crucial step -- a debate on the Senate floor that will almost certainly involve weeks of discussion and a number of amendments that could make the bill stronger, or could sink the bill.

This is exactly the point in this debate where the immigration reform plan fell apart in the Senate six years ago.

The plan they are debating creates a pathway to citizenship for the nation's 11 million or so illegal immigrants, but only after certain border security improvements are initiated. Illegal immigrants without a criminal record who get a job would be granted legal status, but they would have to go to the back of the line for citizenship, which could take 10 years or so.

The border security piece is the biggest sticking point for Republicans. Many say it's not strong enough or that it would never be implemented. Still, it does appear that there are the 60 votes to at least begin debate, and then we'll get our first chance to see just how much support there is for this approach to fixing the nation's broken immigration system.

Watch Nancy Cordes' full report above.