It looks like there’s some talk about immigration reform in the Senate.
A bipartisan group of senators formally unveiled an immigration reform framework that they hope the Senate could pass “in overwhelming and bipartisan fashion” by late spring or early summer.
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.
The major development involves the pathway to citizenship for undocumented workers that would be established under the Senate plan. Conservatives have resisted similar proposals — even when they were proposed by President George W. Bush — and labeled them as “amnesty” for individuals who entered the United States illegally.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said that Americans “have been too content for too long” to allow many undocumented workers to provide basic services “while not affording them any of the benefits that make our country so great.”
Not to be too cynical, but I’ll give it a 50-50 chance of passing in its present form, and no chance of getting through the House without some major watering-down to the point that it’s meaningless, if not even more harmful to immigrants and their kids.
If you look at the outline of the plan, it may have a familiar ring to it. That’s because it’s basically what has been rattling around Washington in one form or another from two different administrations. Both Presidents Bush and Obama wanted something resembling the DREAM Act — where children of undocumented immigrants were not punished for their parents’ actions — and they’ve both come up with something resembling a “pathway to citizenship.” But once the Tea Baggers lit into it with horror fantasies about killer hordes of brown people flooding over the border (and once they realized that Barack Obama was in favor of something), it died a painful death in the desert. (Actually, the numbers of undocumented immigrants is declining to the point where it’s nearly zero.)
The only reason this is getting any kind of life now is because some of the more “moderate” Republicans are concluding that alienating, so to speak, a huge demographic such as Latinos is not the way to win an election without cheating. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is trying to make this his signature issue (ironic given his own experience with immigration recollection). But as long as there’s a buck to be fund-raised over the fear of “illegals,” it’s going to be a tough run.