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Immigration Takes Center Stage
08 Feb 2013

Immigration Takes Center Stage

FirstRead writes, “Speaking at a press conference on Monday on Capitol Hill, five of the eight members of a bipartisan working group announced the contours of their agreement, which would shore up America’s borders and provide an eventual path to citizenship for undocumented workers. Chuck Schumer, the No.3 Dem in the Senate said the Senate would try to approve the legislation for consideration in the House by the end of spring, or early summer.” BIG, BIG DEAL The bipartisan group of senators, in particular, is a big deal. Indeed, this appears to be the first time that McCain has signed on to a top Obama legislative priority since the presidential first took office. FOUR PRINCIPLES: 1) create a “tough but fair path to citizenship” for illegal immigrants that’s contingent on border security; 2) reform the system in a way that helps build the economy; 3) establish an effective employment verification program; and 4) reform the system of admitting future workers.” GROUP OF EIGHT Here’s the group of eight senators who endorsed the proposals: Democrats Charles Schumer (NY), Dick Durbin (IL), Robert Menendez (NJ) and Michael Bennet (CO), plus Republicans John McCain (AZ), Lindsey Graham (SC), Marco Rubio (FL) and Jeff Flake (AZ). PASSAGE WON’T BE EASY (understatement) FirstRead continues, “On paper, passing a comprehensive immigration reform bill should be more than doable. After all, it’s now in both parties’ interest to do so — for Democrats, it’s delivering on a campaign promise; for Republicans, it’s to avoid again losing the Latino vote by a 71%-27% margin. But remember this: Nothing is ever easy in Washington. For one thing, the devil is in the details, even with these bipartisan principles.” OBSTACLE…THE HOUSE National Journal writes, “The political and demographic makeup of this year’s House GOP suggests that, despite efforts by the president and the Senate, immigration reform might stall again. With very few exceptions, legislation cannot advance in the House without the support of a “majority of the majority” party. Fully 131 of the 233 House Republicans represent districts that are more than 80% white. Not only have many of those members opposed measures beyond improving border security in the past, but there is also no natural pressure for immigration reform in their districts. Democrats, who are largely unified in support of some sort of immigration-reform proposal, have just 31 members from similar districts.”

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