Four Additional Hurdles for Immigration Reform

As the Senate bill heads to the Judiciary Committee next week, there is plenty of cause for optimism, but also much still standing in the way.

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Brendan McDermid / Reuters

Gambian national Lamin Kassama, pictured center, listens to the National Anthem during a naturalization ceremony to become an American citizen in New York, April 17, 2013.

Back when the Senate’s Gang of Eight was haggling over the details of its immigration-reform bill, TIME dug into four major hurdles the bill would have to clear. But now the dynamics have changed. The gang has published its proposal, and the details are now being debated in public. With the legislation now headed for mark up in the Judiciary Committee on May 9, here are four new obstacles around which supporters will have to navigate:

Problem #1: Stalling tactics from the right

In the Senate, conservatives opposed to the Gang of Eight’s bill have settled on a simple strategy: stall. The bill, detractors complain, is too big and too important to be crafted by an eight-man panel. A passel of conservatives have called for more hearings, more transparency, more opportunities to tweak the legislation to their liking. Even Rand Paul, who embraced immigration reform just a month ago, pulled a quick U-turn in the aftermath of the Boston bombing, urging the Senate to delay the bill while the investigation into the marathon plot plays out.

Conservatives in the House—where a separate bipartisan gang of negotiators still plans to drop its own template—have taken a different tack, insisting that the legislation be considered in smaller pieces rather than one massive (844-page) bill. That’s a nonstarter for the bill’s advocates. While John McCain and Chuck Schumer say they hope to garner support from a majority of both parties in the Senate, even members of the Gang concede that threading the legislation through the Republican-controlled House is going to be tricky. “The bill that’s in place right now probably can’t pass the House. It will have to be adjusted,” Senator Marco Rubio said this week.

Problem #2: Pushback from the left

The majority of Democrats have found plenty to like in the bill. But there’s still a chance that the political left could derail its passage. Immigrants’ rights groups held a conference call this week to vent concerns about the bill. Among their gripes: the 13-year path to citizenship is too long, its requirements too onerous, and a large swath of the undocumented population — included all immigrants who arrived in the U.S. illegally after 2011 — would be excluded.

Meanwhile, gay-rights advocates are unhappy that same-sex couples aren’t granted greater protections. According to Politico, Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, plans to introduce an amendment during the markup process that would allow gay Americans to sponsor their same-sex partners for green cards. That provision was excluded from the Gang of Eight’s framework because it is anathema not just to Republicans who might otherwise support the bill but also to influential religious groups who back the existing compromise. The amendment seems set to pass the committee, where a simple majority is required, but could hamper the bill’s prospects when it reaches the floor.

Problem #3: The cost for taxpayers

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has yet to score the Senate bill. (On Thursday, it released an explanation of how it will do so on its website.) But conservatives will tout the hefty price tag as a reason to vote no. The Heritage Foundation, an influential conservative think tank, plans to release an analysis of the bill’s costs as soon as next week. In an interview with CNBC, the group’s president, former conservative senator Jim DeMint, offered a likely preview of the argument the report will make, citing “trillions of dollars of costs when [legalized immigrants] reach retirement age, get on Medicare, Social Security. These programs are already broke. Our country is already $17 trillion in debt. This will be a net loss, a huge cost to taxpayers. And it’s not fair to the 4 million people waiting around the world to come here legally.”

Problem #4: The conservative media storyline 

Much of the conservative political establishment has rallied around immigration reform as a sheer political imperative. Not so the conservative media establishment. National Review, normally something of an antidote to the right-wing Internet fever swamps, has gone all-in against the bill, trying to fracture the fragile Gang by applying political pressure on Rubio. Check out their new cover, or this column dubbing Rubio Schumer’s “waterboy,” or this one arguing he was outmaneuvered.

None of this means the bill is bound to fail. But passing legislation of this scope is extremely difficult in an environment where the Republicans are determined the deny the President a political win. “It’s useful to stand back and remember that eight months ago, the official position of the Republican Party on immigration reform was self-deportation. There was not a single leading Republican who was advocating for comprehensive immigration reform. Quite a lot has changed since then,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters Thursday. The President, he added, “hopes that progress will continue and we will see a bill emerge from committee and then from the Senate that has broad bipartisan support, and then, eventually, emerges from Congress in a form that he can sign. And that would be a major accomplishment. But obviously, there are hurdles to clear.”

MORE: Boston Bombing Analysis: When Immigrants Don’t “Americanize”

350 comments
annkerzick86
annkerzick86

ok. Than thousands of black slaves who brought here, who paid forthem to get into the system

ButchMcSnutch
ButchMcSnutch

The middle class can't afford any more dependents from other countries who have not paid into the system.

annkerzick86
annkerzick86

Thats is not right. Who work on the roof of your houses over 100 degree temperature. Poor but very hard worker peoples. When slaves got free and now dividing faster than a F rabbit than why you guys want to create an obstacle against these peoples. They just want a legal status to support their family and work legally in this great country.

jriley
jriley

Political games. Enforce existing laws instead of changing them. The illegal invaders do not care and are not threatened by any US immigration laws. Their behaviors will not change in the future either.

AceSmooth
AceSmooth

Screw it just let people illegally cross, it gives border patrol something to do. I say we take all the money that is being and going to be used for this effort and invest it in education. It is the only way to go. Education is the most sound investment any country can make. I think that is all that needs to be said. Education has been shoved to the back of the line of significance when it should be in first class.

annkerzick86
annkerzick86

Every one knows who is taking advantage of our system. Who have average 10 to 15 babies from one woman. Who are those selling drugs on the street of NY and Chicago. This was the big mistake which Abraham Lincoln did and now every one has to pay the consequences of it.

annkerzick86
annkerzick86

How is that if we send all black people back from where we bought them as a slave and then give them equal right. Now they start raping white womans and black woman is trying to get sex from a white man so that then can change their race. Stop talking all this BS you are free it doesnt mean you people can start bully on other races. These Spanish peoples are very good smart and hard working peoples. They just want a legal status so that they can work and bring their families here.

Q
Q

I supported Barack Obama and still do and I am an African-American. However, AMNESTY for illegals should not be allowed under any circumstances. Any illegal alien should be deported! This myth that the border is secure is not true nor will it be after this sham of a bill is passed, if it ever is. Adding 12 - 20 million low skilled lawbreakers to our society is not the correct path to take. We need to implement the E-Verify system and fine ANY employer for hiring illegals. We then need to seal the border by any means necessary. Illegals should also not be able to get drivers licenses, buy houses, rent apartments, or do anything legal citizens can do.

Allowing AMNESTY for ILLEGALS will be the final straw in the demise of our society. ILLEGALS add NO VALUE to our society and only strain our already bankrupt society and will ensure that the low skilled wages stay low and low skilled unemployment rates stay high, especially for other minorities like African-Americans.

annkerzick86
annkerzick86

That is not right. Time when we brought black slaves they were bilingual too. We teach them and after they were free they speak our national language.

lillibetlyons
lillibetlyons

@SirDonQuixotic  I think myself along with others are so against amnesty due to what we are already dealing with.There is plenty of evidence that there are vast numbers who have no interest in assimilating and learning English. The closing announcement in the grocery store yesterday was initially made in Spanish then English. There are bilingual signs in Kohls to say the least. People often come up to me in my place of business asking is there someone who can speak Spanish.(No one who speaks any other language asks for an interpreter) There was a Spanish interpreter in the county court standing by for the various people that would obviously need it that day. The DMV driving manual is offered in Spanish. There are children who are entering school[but were born here] who do not speak a lick of  English b/c they were not at all taught at home. Most communications sent home from school are also interpreted in Spanish.You may not be experiencing this b/c you are not in an' illegal friendly' state as I am, but if this bill passes EVERYONE in all states will experience the frustrations that I do now! 

Lawgiver0
Lawgiver0

@mantisdragon91 There is no point arguing against you, because I am not there to see whether an illegal takes a citizen's job, I am not there to verify if he pays all taxes. Thus I want to advocate  for what you support -- encourage people to come here illegally. To put it metaphorically (and graphically), ever seen a pic of the boatpeople? Who am I to tell who can get on -- a chance for hope, and who can't get on -- 0 chance?? Thus I want put even more people on this already dangerously over crowded boat...and just give it a little bump when it's on the high seas...then we hear it in the news huh.

And I think I can achieve this. I am a legal immigrant as opposed to a person who is the n-th generation of an immigrant, thus I have weekly phone calls with all the families from the village where I come from, and with the reach of the internet, they are starting to ask me to help them to come here illegally, and they'll be just immigrants right, which this country was built on. And they'll just demand for another immigration reform a few years later because they too can hide in the shadows, they too can steal ssn (it'll be funny if it was yours or His huh). And you to support them then too right?

Kafantaris
Kafantaris

President George W. Bush understood that the path to the White House goes through Latino Country.  

The GOP understands it too. So why are some Republicans going out of their way to p_ss Latinos off? Can they not help it? Or do they enjoy being on the outside looking in? 

PANATAG
PANATAG

lope/bendico

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“DEPT OF JUSTICE”
“COMMISION HUMAN RIGHTS”

LAURA CHURCH
BALAGTAS BULACAN

PLS APPREHEND!
PLS SIR PAK-SABI NOW
*MATATAG
*PANATAG
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*INGAT PO
*PLASTIC&STYROFOR

lanbr3
lanbr3

The majority of illegals are from Mexico.I have a great respect for their work ethic.However, look at the numbers - they make an average of $22,000 and have an average of 2-3 kids.Citizenship means an automatic eligibility for food stamps, WIC, free school lunches, subsidized housing, Medicaid, free cell phones, SSDI if their back hurts, TANF cash, SSI cash, etc....

At tax time in April, when 53% of Americans are paying taxes, the new citizens would be getting huge bonus checks that include all the money that they paid in during the year, plus EITC and Child Tax Credits.   The 53% cannot afford more burdens to pay for.  We already have 40,000,000 home grown welfare cases that we have to support.

awake112012
awake112012

WAKE UP FOLKS- THIS IS ALL A PLAN CHECK OUT 2 THINGS SEARCH : AGENDA 21 AND NAUFS

alexcook
alexcook

A comprehensive immigration reform is needed immediately for humanitarian, security and economic reasons. 

But  neither undocumented immigrants nor legalization are the problem here, instead it is the business whom will exploit poor people here, in china or elsewhere.

What can be done? Here are my two cents.

First, make broader and tougher antidumping laws to protect US industries.

Second, punitive taxation on business taking jobs offshore, so unemployment will go down and industries can compete in a free but fair trade.

And third, reactivate the industry so it will provide jobs for all US born and immigrants as well. Therefore the economy will be reactivated too.

But if the US keeps borrowing money, closing its industries, outsourcing jobs and buying foreign-made products; sooner than later the country will find itself broke, with no money to buy goods; no credit and no industry to provide neither jobs nor goods.

By then, if you are a believer pray to God, because China will have taken over the world with the hammer and the sickle, its pockets full of money and its voracious worldwide industry paid by the USA.

budman45
budman45

well we have been cussing and discussing this problem for three hours and havnt come up with a general consensus so now we know how those poor politicians feel and they have to worry about their campaign funds and getting reelected not that they care about the united states or the people who elected them in the first place

annkerzick86
annkerzick86

We are at war. All these troubles are created by these F black peoples to divert our thinking from the main issue to all these stupid things which has no sense.

AceSmooth
AceSmooth

@annkerzick86  You are seriously retarded. Obviously you are barley able to write a coherent sentence. Your opinion should be tossed aside like a used condom. Please stop expressing yourself because anything that comes from such an ignorant and barely literate person cannot be good for anyone.

strongone
strongone

@Q I oppose this as well for many reasons.  For one, this govt does not have the resources to process and monitor 11 million or more people.  If they had those resources, we wouldn't have 11 million illegal immigrants in this country since the last amnesty.  Rep King himself acknowledged that they couldn't monitor student visas because there were over a million to process.  

Additionally, this is just a deal with Big Business to ensure they have cheap labor in the U.S. instead of in China.  If these illegals have to pay fines and back taxes, what will their Employers who hired them illegally have to pay?  Zero.  Big Business, who recruited them into this country, sent slavecatchers to get them, won't have to pay one penny to compensate the local govts that educated their children and provided health care, etc.  

I wonder if this is why we are being asked to give up social security benefits & medicare?  To account for 11 million people added to the rolls?  And these 11 million or more people will be required to work.  So they'll have jobs but American citizens remain unemployed and underemployed. For black Americans, un and underemployment numbers remain at Depression Era levels.  Why isn't anything being done for Americans who need jobs and wages?  Why do non-citizens get priority? 



alexcook
alexcook

@lillibetlyons@SirDonQuixoticPlease, read the proposed bill. 

Everyone will have to learn English. That is one of the conditions set forth to get the Temporary Protected Status. 

Having said that, I agree that most immigrants aren't trying hard enough to learn English, specially in areas with high percentage of immigrants. Miami is a good example.

And it may sound too harsh for some, but I think that besides learning  English, the immigration  bill should also include making English the official language. 

If you can't speak the language you can't assimilate.

alexcook
alexcook

@lanbr3According to the proposed bill, immigrant will not be allowed to get benefits. No Obamacare, no food stamps, nothing. There would be a ten year testing or probation period after which if they comply with all the requirements they can apply for a green card, after which if granted they have to wait three more years until they can get any benefit.

I would suggest to anyone interested in this subject to please  read the proposed bill if you want to have an informed opinion so you will not get carried away by neither side.

tom.litton
tom.litton

@alexcook The problem with punitive taxation is that the business will just pass the extra cost onto the consumer and/or other countries will then set punitive taxes on companies that offshore jobs to the US.  On the whole, it will hurt a lot more than it helps.


I think a better option is to make our workers competitive by creating a top notch infrastructure, graduating more engineers, fund research into high tech manufacturing, etc. 

bbsnews
bbsnews

@budman45  Well bud, unless you can accept that there will never be a round up of 12-20 million Mexicans and others in this country - never - you won't be able to figure out a solution. Sensible people know this is not only impossible but it would destroy the fabric of the United States. There will never be the big round up that many of you envision. It is not going to happen.

paulejb
paulejb

@budman45 

There will never be a consensus between liberal dogma and rational thought. Liberals believe in their own infallibility as if it were imbued by the God they profess does not exist.

bbsnews
bbsnews

@paulejb Perhaps you could tell us why anyone would EVER read and believe a word of information from breitbart?

Seriously? That's what you consider an actual source? Drudge I suppose to right? Faux News, Limbaugh, the rest of that crew? Do you have some links to Ann Coulter to add? Glenn Beck? How about batguanocrazy.com? Maybe jackbootedthugs.org?

Q
Q

@strongone @Q 

I ask these questions constantly yet both our political "leaders" and the media ignore them. Both are engaged in a propaganda campaign to convince the American people that AMNESTY for ILLEGALS is the right thing to do. The fact is that lower skilled workers and the average American will be harmed and they know it. They believe that the American people are gullible and the unfortunate thing is that they are often correct. They are supposed to represent the interest of the American people, but more and more our politicians including Barack Obama who again I voted for, are acting like a lobbying firm for ILLEGALS. It is shameful, pathetic and most importantly horrible public policy.

strongone
strongone

@alexcook @lanbr3 Yeah, right. The Tsaernaev's had no problem getting welfare in Massachusetts.  Eleven million people need health care.  So how are they going to pay for it?  They'll all be required to have jobs?  American citizens suffer from lost jobs and poor wages.  What about jobs for American citizens?  Will these illegals be able to return to Mexico for free health care?  Will they have dual citizenship?  Doesn't pass the smell test.

alexcook
alexcook

@tom.litton@alexcook Every country makes its trading law according  its  economical and geopolitical power. For example, African countries have no decision power in the world economy, they have to comply with every decision the WTO and the IMF take for them, even when those decision are extremely harmful for those countries. The US in not in that position, not yet. The US is a powerful player in the world , its purchasing and military power has an enormous influence on every nation in the world. Now, a country in that high position can make its trading laws as it wishes and the rest of the countries will accommodate to it. But time is running out. 

With respect to the second part of your comment about workers competitiveness and a top notch infrastructure, I thought that when I said "Reactivating the Industry" it was understood that it included all that too, unless we are talking about Cuba. 

paulejb
paulejb

@bbsnews @budman45 

No need for a round-up. Just enforce the laws that exist and implement e-verify. The problem will cease to exist all on it's own.

bbsnews
bbsnews

@paulejb @budman45 Much of the United States is based on liberalism. It's been this way from the founding. So your point is nonsensical.

Indeed, liberal thought is based upon reality-based solutions. 

On the other hand, today's "conservatives" are the group of people who say NO. NO to Civil Rights, NO to sensible regulation of banks and corporations, NO to the sensible closing of not only tax loopholes for corporations but also to the loopholes that let 40% of guns in this country be sold without a background check, NO to sensible environmental regulations that prevent dirty water and the further killing off of wildlife and natural resources, pretty much NO to everything and in the last few years, certainly to the black man in the White House - this continual NO has gone completely insane.

And now, about 40% of Republicans believe in a fight against the government, in other words they want to mount an insurrection with their AR-15's against American government.

Progressive liberals on the other hand are trying to implement and conserve American ideals that made this country great, and so-called "conservatives" are actually intent on destroying what made America great.

I think you seriously need to consider reality there paul...

paulejb
paulejb

@bbsnews @paulejb 

Simple, bbs. The lapdog media ignores news like this because it fails to fit the liberal narrative. 

MrObvious
MrObvious

@bbsnews @paulejb 

Don't worry about paulejb; he have been trolling swampland for years. And those are his sources. He ain't really right up there.

tom.litton
tom.litton

@alexcook @tom.litton I think you over estimate the US's power in this regard.  We have and will continue to loose cases at the WTO.

And countries will make decisions based on the economical and geopolitical self interests.  If a would be dictator thinks he can gain political points by adding punitive tariffs to US imports, then he will do so.   If China thinks adding punitive tariffs to US imports will help their economy, then they will do so.  We can't stop them, not even through the WTO. 

Remember China is expected to pass us economically in about 10-20 years.  Europe isn't that far behind us (although not growing as quickly), India is growing faster than us.  Our economic power is waning quickly, and with it our political power.

lrvman
lrvman

@JoellynCarpenter @paulejb @bbsnews @budman45  Nor will the hospitality industry, nor the construction industry, or the meat packing industry, nor the ...hell, all businesses will do anything to avoid, or undermine E-Verify. Watch LaRaza sue the govt, the instant it goes into effect, making amnesty the law, but gutting the enforcement sections.

DebbieHanrahan
DebbieHanrahan

@paulejb @bbsnews @budman45   I think the basics of e-verify are good but realize that many businesses don't like e-verify.  They are either in a business that likes paying under the table for cheap wages and/or e-verify stats are often lacking.  The program is never updated.  It's a good idea but needs major increase in accuracy.  Just enforcing the laws we have doesn't work because the laws are antiquated and the law enforcement required would bankrupt each state. 

bbsnews
bbsnews

@paulejb @bbsnews @budman45 You would not know Marxism if it wafted up out of a New York City subway grate and bit you on the noogies.

That's just something you repeat because hate radio taught you to.

Continue though, as many people who keep getting killed and sent to the gutter through the current crop of 'bagger led GOP policies it will soon be amazing if a Republican can get elected as a dog catcher. 

Heaven help you when the white South and the other Red states no longer gets food stamps and free stuff.

paulejb
paulejb

@bbsnews @paulejb @budman45 

There's classical liberalism and then there is Marxist liberalism. We need more of the former and much less of the latter.

paulejb
paulejb

@bbsnews @paulejb 

That's because you are a prisoner of the state run Obama media. They maintain you as a low information voter who can be expected to be fooled all of the time.

bbsnews
bbsnews

@paulejb @bbsnews "State run Obama media"? You are actually challenged mentally aren't you? Have you considered help? I really do not want to see you on CNN soon as yet another conspiracy theorist run amok...

It seriously scares me that people who think like you exist. I am far more worried about right-wing tin-foil hat wearers than I am about any supposed terrorist threat.

paulejb
paulejb

@bbsnews @paulejb 

The state run Obama media no longer even pretends to be objective. They are willing accomplices of the Obama regime.

bbsnews
bbsnews

@paulejb @bbsnews Lapdof media? Surely you jest? When the Koch brothers buys the LA Times and all the other media property that comes along with it, you'll get just what you claim to want. News tailored to tin-foil hat bat guano crazy conspiracy consumers with Glenn Beck and the rest.

And you are making them rich paul, and they laugh at you and your gullibility.