A bipartisan group of eight Senators including Republicans John McCain and Marco Rubio, as well as Democrats Charles Schumer and Dick Durbin, made news Monday with the announcement that they had reached an agreement in principle on an extensive Immigration reform that would address border security, guest worker and employer verification, and include a path to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants already in this country. NBC News reports that the group of senators believe the Immigration reform framework could pass in the Senate by late spring or early summer "in overwhelming and bipartisan fashion."
Immigration reform has long been a hot-button issue in American politics, with each party often having a far from uniform position on the matter from all members, and several notable legislative struggles when attempting to solve the problem through far-reaching reform on a national level (e.g. Ronald Reagan's 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act and the failed Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 supported by George W. Bush.) A source tells BuzzFeed that House Speaker John Boehner is “pretty optimistic” on Immigration reform, and a bipartisan bill similar to the Senate's is currently being put together in the Republican-controlled House.
Following drastically regressive electoral progress with Hispanic voters in 2012, Republican leadership indicated shortly after the election that they were confident that the party could come to an agreement with the president on Immigration reform. Yet as Monday's news has arrived, some conservatives are worried that they could be conceding too much in this Senate proposal and losing site of important objectives in any talks on this issue.
"Border security is the only basis for Republican unity," Joel Pollak writes on Brietbart.com."Republicans are divided on all other particulars--path to citizenship, guest worker program, deportation, anchor babies,etc. As I've argued before, Republican strategy in the House should be to say 'no' on issues where there is consensus, and 'no, unless' on issues where there is not. In this case, the House should reject any reform unless it puts border security first."
The Washington Times reports that the legislative framework proposed Monday relies heavily on more drones to patrol the border with Mexico, and grants immediate legal status to illegal immigrants but won't let them get in the citizenship line until the borders are more secure. Writing on TheBlaze's contributors page Monday, Daniel Horowitz of The Madison Project warns conservatives to be weary of a repackaging of the "McCain-Kennedy amnesty bill of 2006."
This is essentially the same deal as the 2006/07 McCain-Kennedy amnesty bills.
Almost every illegal would be entitled to a work visa. Once granted the work visa, they would be set on a path toward a green card if they pay a fine, learn English (whatever that means), and pay back taxes (as if most of them earn enough to accrue a net positive tax liability). They would eventually be able to become citizens with voting rights without ever having to return home.
Additionally, the 2-3 million children of those who immigrated illegally would be set on a fast-track path to citizenship under the rough guidelines of the DREAM Act. The bill will likely pave the road for a massive increase of legal immigration for both high AND low skilled immigrants. Moreover, the plan would call for a number of enforcement mechanisms that are already on the books but not enforced. There will be no precondition that the border is sealed, E-Verify is implemented, and a visa tracking system is put in place before the amnesty is granted.
On 'Wilkow!' Monday, Republican House members Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Louie Gohmert of Texas joined the show to discuss the Senate proposal and the importance of border security.
"Isn't that what the people want? They want to be first secure, and guaranteed that the border will be secured and that you end illegal entry; whether it is the drugs, or the terrorists that would like to destroy us, or weapons, or human trafficking--that you end all illegal entry, that's item number one," Blackburn said on Monday's show, adding that our Immigration system does need to be reformed while taking into account previous legislative successes and struggles on this issue. "Lets see the details, lets see what you're going to put on the table, I also want to see what the House working group is going to put on the table, and then lets make certain we don't repeat the mistakes that were repeated in previous decades when this was tried."