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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Senators nearing agreement on broad immigration reform proposal

    Senators nearing agreement on broad immigration reform proposal

    By Rosalind S. Helderman and David Nakamura,
    Jan 25, 2013 05:36 PM EST
    The Washington Post Friday, January 25, 9:36 AM


    A working group of senators from both parties is nearing agreement on broad principles for overhauling the nation’s immigration laws, representing the most substantive bipartisan effort toward comprehensive legislation in years.

    The six members have met quietly since the November election, most recently on Wednesday. Congressional aides stressed there is not yet final agreement, but they have eyed next Friday as a target date for a possible public announcement.

    THE FIX | The GOP contender is back in the nation's capital today. But his former allies keep bringing him up — and not in a good way.

    The talks mark the most in-depth negotiations involving members of both parties since a similar effort broke down in 2010 without producing a bill.

    “We have basic agreement on many of the core principles,” Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), a member of the group, said this week. “Now we have to draft it. It takes time.”

    “The group we’ve been meeting with — and it’s equal number of Democrats and Republicans — we’re real close,” added Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), another member of the group.

    The accelerated pace signals that immigration reform is expected to be one of Congress’s highest priorities, and it comes as the White House prepares to launch its own public campaign on the issue.

    President Obama will travel to Las Vegas on Tuesday to speak about the need to “fix the broken immigration system this year,” the administration announced, an appearance in a state with a rapidly growing number of Hispanic voters, who overwhelmingly supported his reelection. Obama also met with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on Friday, and aides said he vowed that immigration will be his “top priority.”

    “What has been absent in the time [since] he put principles forward is a willingness by Republicans to move forward with comprehensive immigration reform,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said Friday. “He hopes that dynamic has changed and there are indications what was once a bipartisan effort to push forward. . .will again be a bipartisan effort to do so.”

    Past efforts begun amid similarly high hopes have sputtered. But members of both parties increasingly see changes to the nation’s troubled immigration system as an area most likely to draw bipartisan agreement at a time when Congress is deeply divided on gun control, spending and taxes.

    The optimism is spurred by the sense that the political dynamics have shifted markedly since the last two significant bipartisan efforts failed. In 2007, a bill crafted in the Senate died after failing to win support of 60 members despite backing from then-president George W. Bush. Many Republicans, and some centrist Democrats, opposed that effort because it offered a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

    In 2010, extended negotiations between Schumer and Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) broke down without producing legislation.

    Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a veteran of the 2007 effort who is part of the current working group, said Republican attitudes have dramatically shifted since the party’s defeat at the polls in November. Obama won more than 70 percent of the vote among Latinos and Asians, and a growing number of GOP leaders believe action on immigration is necessary to expand the party’s appeal to minority groups.

    “Obviously, it’s had a very distinct impression,” said McCain, who lost his own bid for the White House in 2008. “It’s time to move forward on this.”
    But he added, “I don’t claim that it’s going to be easy.”

    THE FIX | The GOP contender is back in the nation's capital today. But his former allies keep bringing him up — and not in a good way.

    Also included in the new Senate group are Schumer, who chairs the key Senate subcommittee where legislative action will begin; Graham; Robert Menendez (D-N.J.); and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). Two others, Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Michael F. Bennet (D-Colo.), have also been involved in some talks.

    Their timetable would aim for a bill to be written by March or April and potentially considered for final passage in the Senate as early as the summer. Proponents believe adoption in the GOP-held House would be made easier with a strong bipartisan vote in the Senate.

    The working group’s principles would address stricter border control, better employer verification of workers’ immigration status, new visas for temporary agriculture workers and expanding the number of visas available for skilled engineers. They would also include a call to help young people who were brought to the country illegally as children by their parents become citizens and to normalize the status of the nation’s 11 million illegal immigrants.

    But obstacles abound. For instance, Rubio has said he believes immigrants who came to the country illegally should be able to earn a work permit. But he has said they should be required to seek citizenship through existing avenues, and only after those who have come to the country legally.

    Democrats and immigration advocates fear that approach could result in wait-times stretching for decades, creating a class of permanent legal residents for whom the benefits of citizenship appear unattainable. They have pushed to create new pathways to citizenship specifically available to those who achieve legal residency as part a reform effort.

    It is not yet clear if the Senate group will endorse a mechanism allowing such people to eventually become citizens — something Obama is expected to champion. Schumer said it would be “relatively detailed,” but would not “get down into the weeds.”

    A source close to Rubio said he joined the group in December at the request of other members only after they agreed their effort would line up with his own principles for reform, which he outlined in an interview with the Wall Street Journal three weeks ago.

    His ideas have since been embraced by conservatives, including some longtime foes of providing legal status to those who have come to the country illegally.

    As a possible 2016 presidential contender widely trusted on the right, Rubio’s support could be key to moving the bipartisan effort.

    And while Rubio and other Republicans have said they would prefer to split up a comprehensive immigration proposal into smaller bills that would be voted on separately, the White House will pursue comprehensive legislation that seeks to reform the process in a single bill.

    “I doubt if there will be a macro, comprehensive bill,” said Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), who supported the 2007 effort. “Anytime a bill’s more than 500 pages, people start getting suspicious. If it’s 2,000 pages, they go berserk.”

    But in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on Friday, Republican Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, strongly supports a single comprehensive bill, writing that “Congress should avoid quick fixes.”

    Schumer said Friday that a single package will be key for passage. “We’ll not get it done in pieces,” he said. “Every time you do a piece, everyone says what about my piece and you get more people opposing it.”

    White House officials said they welcome the bipartisan Senate group’s deliberations and do not think it will conflict with the administration’s strategy. Some Democrats in the House, including Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-Ill.), have cautioned that the White House could harm the bid for bipartisan support if it acts too aggressively by authoring its own legislative proposal.

    But advocates, who were disappointed that Obama did not follow through on comprehensive reform in his first term, said they expect the president to be out front on the issue.

    “The president needs to lead, and then the Republicans have a choice: Are they going to do what they did in the last term and just be obstructionists?” said Eliseo Medina, secretary-treasurer of the Service Employees International Union, which spent millions recruiting new Hispanic voters this year. “Well, that didn’t work too well in November. Do the Republicans want the president not to get the credit?

    The best way to share the credit is for them to step up and engage and act together with the president. But it’s their choice. ”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/senators-nearing-agreement-on-broad-immigration-reform-proposal/2013/01/25/950fb78a-6642-11e2-9e1b-07db1d2ccd5b_story.html
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    From reading this article, it looks like we have the usual vocal pro-amnesty Democrats and the usual RINO pro-amnesty suspects: John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Jeff Flake and now Marco Rubio, who changes his tune about "comprehensive reform" or "enforcement first" depending on the audience he is talking to.

    Prior articles stated that Utah Senator Mike Lee was part of this pro-amnesty (anti-American worker) group, and I'm glad he is not mentioned here because he ran on a very strong anti-amnesty, pro-enforcement platform.

    And we'll have to remind Jeff Flake that he explicitly said during his very recent campaign that border security must come first, and we know from the GAO, the border (especially in his home state of Arizona) is far from secure.

  3. #3
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    NO AMNESTY

    DON'T REWARD THE CRIMINAL ACTIONS OF MILLIONS OF ILLEGAL ALIENS

    BY GIVING THEM CITIZENSHIP

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    White House, senators launching immigration push

    The following article is on Drudge today.
    ~~~

    Jan 25, 5:29 PM EST
    By JULIE PACE and ERICA WERNER
    Associated Press

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- Reviving an issue that has languished for years, President Barack Obama will launch a campaign next week aimed at overhauling the nation's flawed immigration system and creating legal status for millions, as a bipartisan Senate group nears agreement on achieving the same goals.

    The proposals from Obama and lawmakers will mark the start of what is expected to be a contentious and emotional process with deep political implications. Latino voters overwhelmingly backed Obama in the 2012 election, leaving Republicans grappling for a way to regain their standing with an increasingly powerful pool of voters.

    The president will press his case for immigration changes during a trip to Las Vegas Tuesday. The Senate working group is also aiming to outline its proposals next week, according to a Senate aide.

    Administration officials say Obama's second-term immigration push will be a continuation of the principles he outlined during his first four years in office but failed to act on. He is expected to revive his little-noticed 2011 immigration "blueprint," which calls for a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants that includes paying fines and back taxes; increased border security; mandatory penalties for businesses that employ unauthorized immigrants; and improvements to the legal immigration system, including giving green cards to high-skilled workers and lifting caps on legal immigration for the immediate family members of U.S. citizens.

    "What has been absent in the time since he put those principles forward has been a willingness by Republicans, generally speaking, to move forward with comprehensive immigration reform," White House press secretary Jay Carney said. "What he hopes is that that dynamic has changed."

    The political dynamic does appear to have shifted following the November election. Despite making little progress on immigration in his first term, Obama won more than 70 percent of the Latino vote, in part because of the conservative positions on immigration that Republican nominee Mitt Romney staked out during the GOP primary. Latino voters accounted for 10 percent of the electorate in November.

    The president met privately Friday morning with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to discuss his next steps on immigration. Among those in the meeting was Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Calif., who said Obama told lawmakers "immigration reform is his number one legislative priority."

    That could bump back the president's efforts to seek legislation enacting stricter gun laws, another issue he has vowed to make a top second term priority.

    The Senate immigration group is also pressing for quick action, aiming to draft a bill by March and pass legislation in their chamber by August, said the aide, who requested anonymity in order to discuss private deliberations. The Republican-controlled House would also need to pass the legislation before it went to the White House for the president's signature.

    Senate lawmakers working on the immigration effort include Democrats Charles Schumer of New York, Dick Durbin of Illinois and Robert Menendez of New Jersey; and Republicans John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Marco Rubio of Florida, according to Senate aides.

    Democrat Michael Bennet of Colorado, and Republicans Jeff Flake of Arizona and Mike Lee of Utah have also been involved. It's not clear whether all those involved will sign on to the principles the group hopes to roll out next week.

    Those principles are expected to include a process toward legalizing the status of unauthorized immigrants already in the country; border security; verification measures for employers hiring workers and ways for more temporary workers to be admitted into the country.

    It's unclear whether the group will back the pathway to full citizenship that the president is seeking. Schumer and Graham have previously supported requiring illegal immigrants to admit they broke the law, perform community service, pay fines and back taxes, pass background checks and learn English before going to the back of the line of immigrants already in the system in order to legalize their immigration status.

    Several of the senators negotiating the immigration principles are veterans of the failed comprehensive immigration reform effort under then-President George W. Bush. That process collapsed in 2007 when it came up well-short of the needed votes in the Senate, a bitter outcome for Bush and the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, the Democrats' leader on the legislation.

    Some Republicans still lament that result as a missed opportunity for the party that could have set the GOP on a different path to reach more Latino voters.

    Rubio is a relative newcomer to Senate negotiations on the issue, but he's seen as a rising star in his party and a potential 2016 presidential candidate. As a charismatic young Hispanic leader his proposals on immigration have attracted wide notice in recent weeks. And as a conservative favorite, unlike McCain or Graham, his stamp of approval could be critical to drawing in other conservative lawmakers.

    A Republican aide said that Rubio has made clear in his interactions with the Senate group that he couldn't sign on to proposals that deviated from the principles he himself has been laying out in recent media interviews, including border security first, a guest-worker program, more visas for high-tech workers and enforcement in the workplace.

    As for the illegal immigrants already in the country, Rubio would have them pay a fine and back taxes, show they have not committed crimes, prove they've been in the country for some time and speak some English and apply for permanent residency. Ultimately citizenship too could be in reach but only after a process that doesn't nudge aside immigrants already in line, and Rubio hasn't provided details on how long it all might take.

    News from The Associated Press
    We have immigration laws that just need to be enforced.

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