November 2004: Sen. John McCain [R-AZ] with Reps. Jim Kolbe and Jeff Flake, both Arizona Republicans, sponsor a bill to allow undocumented immigrants in already living in America to enter a guest-worker program and eventually apply for permanent residence.
April 2004 : 1,000 civilian volunteers, calling themselves the “Minutemen”" heed the call of James Gilchrist of Aliso Viejo, CA, and meet in Tombstone, AZ to start a month-long patrol of a 40-mile stretch of the southeast Arizona border.
May 2005 : S. 1033 introduced by Senators John McCain [R-AZ] and Edward Kennedy [D-MA], The Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act. The plan offered eventual citizenship if undocumented persons paid $2,000 in fines, paid any back taxes, passed a criminal background check and demonstrated English proficiency.
July 2005: S. 1438 introduced by Sen. John Cornyn [R-TX] and Sen. Jon Kyl [R-AZ], the Comprehensive Enforcement and Immigration Reform Act of 2005. The plan, called the "report-to-deport" plan, allowed guest workers to remain for 6 years, but then required that they leave.
December 2005: Representative F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. [R-WI] introduces H.R. 4437. The House of Representatives passes H.R. 4437 by a vote of 239-182. Among the provisions included are criminalization of service assistance, increased enforcement and penalties, and limitation on legalization of immigrants.
January 2006: Senator Bill Frist [R-TN], requests that the Senate Judiciary Committee provide majority-supported Comprehensive Immigration Reform legislation for Senate floor-action by March 27, 2006.
February 2006: Senator Arlen Specter [R-PA], Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, releases a Chairman’s Mark to guide the Senate debate on Comprehensive Immigration Reform
March-April 2006 : Hundreds of thousands of people march and protest nationwide.
May 1, 2006 : Across the country, more than 1 million people attend rallies as part of "Day Without An Immigrant." Groups are divided over whether to support the boycott and what kind of reform legislation to seek.
May 25, 2006: Senate passes sweeping reform bill to allow many undocumented immigrants to apply for residency after learning English and paying fines. It also includes provisions to increase security at U.S.-Mexico border and deport illegal immigrants who arrived in recent years. The House and Senate never reconcile differences in their bills.
October 2006 : Congress passes and President Bush signs the Secure Fence Act , which calls for building hundreds of miles of new fences along the U.S.-Mexico border.
January 2007 : Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Edward Kennedy (D-MA) begin formulating a new comprehensive reform proposal. President Bush includes immigration reform in his State of the Union address, renewing his call for a temporary worker plan and a path to legalization for unauthorized immigrants.
March 2007 : Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) vows to "take up a bill before the August recess.“ Meanwhile, a group of GOP senators begins meeting with DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff and Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez to craft a Senate immigration reform bill. On the House side, Representatives Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) introduce the Security Through Regularized Immigration and a Vibrant Economy (STRIVE) Act.
May 2007 : Majority Leader Reid vows to bring the immigration bill that passed the Senate in 2006 to the floor and bypass the committee process, unless a reasonable alternative to the bill is proposed by May 14th. Senators scramble to reach consensus before the May 14th deadline. Key Republican senators, including Lindsey Graham (SC), Mel Martinez (FL), John McCain (AZ), and Arlen Specter (PA) threaten to vote against last year's Senate-passed bill if brought to the Senate floor. Senators urge Reid to allow time to finish negotiations and introduce a new bill. Reid finally relents and postpones the vote until the 16th.
June 2007: Immigration Reform dies in the Senate.
July 2007 - Present: Worksite, border, and interior enforcement measures presented and debated.