Immigration reform supporters have a new ally — the environmental lobby. The Sierra Club’s board voted Wednesday to support comprehensive immigration reform, POLITICO has learned. The backing from the nation’s oldest environmental group is a major shift that could help immigration reform supporters gain momentum as they try to push the measure through the Senate. It is another sign that some of the historical opponents to overhauling the country’s immigration laws, like evangelicals, are switching sides in this controversial debate.
Two drafters of the Senate’s bipartisan immigration bill believe they can achieve the impossible in today’s fractious Congress: convince majorities of both Republicans and Democrats in the upper chamber to support the proposal. “Maybe this is hopeful, but it would be wonderful if we could get a majority on both sides,” Sen. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), a leading Democrat in the “Gang of Eight,” told reporters at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor. “I think it’s very doable,” added Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), a top Republican in the “Gang.”
Convening the Senate Judiciary Committee for its second hearing on immigration reform, committee chairman Patrick Leahy, D-VT., on Monday urged his Senate colleagues to stop using the Boston Marathon bombings as an excuse to slow down immigration reform.
A former cabinet secretary under President George W. Bush took apart a main talking point that conservatives have used to oppose immigration reform. Speaking at the Hispanic Leadership Network conference, former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez addressed the notion, oft-repeated on the right, that immigrants “take jobs away from Americans.”
Much of the country was still waking up to the mayhem and confusion outside Boston on Friday morning when Senator Charles Grassley decided to link the hunt for terrorist bombers to immigration reform. “How can individuals evade authorities and plan such attacks on our soil?” asked Mr. Grassley, the Iowa Republican, at the beginning of a hearing on the Senate’s immigration bill. “How can we beef up security checks on people who wish to enter the U.S.?” Continue reading →
The just released Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 is 844 pages long piece of legislation crafted by a bi-partisan group of 8 Senators, four Senate DemocratsChuck Schumer (NY), Dick Durbin (IL), Bob Menendez (NJ), and Michael Bennet (CO and four Senate Republicans John McCain (AZ), Lindsay Graham (SC), Marco Rubio (FL), and Jeff Flake (AZ). There is a a lot of immigration policy to navigate in this legislation, below please find four big takeaways from the bill.
The introduction of sweeping immigration legislation on Tuesday is likely to ignite a months-long battle between those who want citizenship for the nation’s 11 million illegal immigrants and opponents who view such an approach as amnesty. A bipartisan group of eight senators plans to unveil legislation, drafted largely in secret, that would provide a 13-year path to American citizenship for illegal immigrants who arrived in the country before Dec. 31, 2011, but would demand that tougher border controls be in place first. The legislation is certain to unleash a torrent of attacks from Republican opponents on the immigration overhaul, similar to the kind of criticism that killed an effort supported by President George W. Bush in 2007.