Sen. Dick Durbin, one of the bipartisan "Gang of Eight" behind the immigration reform that will be debated next week by the full Senate, said passage of the measure would mean billions of dollars in economic growth and hundreds of thousands of new jobs in the United States.

It will be our best chance in a generation to approve comprehensive reform, Durbin said at a technology fair at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

The senator said that the bill worked up by the Gang of Eight will mean that foreign students who take diplomas in science, technology, engineering and mathematics will no longer have to face long delays to obtain permanent residence.

These future doctors, engineers and business executives have a great potential to contribute to our country, the Illinois Democrat said.

He also said that for the undocumented, the reform will be an opportunity to find work in line with their abilities, instead of struggling in the underground economy.

In a statement, Durbin's office cited Center for American Progress estimates that immigration reform would boost migrants' incomes 15 percent in five years and would lead to the creation of 121,000 jobs annually.

In Illinois, more than 40 percent of students who obtain master's degrees or doctorates in sciences, technology, engineering or mathematics are immigrants on temporary visas.

In 2011, almost 2,700 IT and biomedicine graduates in this state were unable to obtain work visas and had to leave the country. EFE