Senate poised to pass illegal immigration bill
On Monday, the Gang of Eight (4 Democrat and 4 Republican Senators) unveiled an outline of a proposed bipartisan deal that finally addresses the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. The blueprint provides a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants while stressing the importance of securing the U.S.-Mexico border. The Senators want the border first secured and the system for tracking people in the U.S. on visas improved.
The next day President Obama traveled to Nevada, a state with a large Latino population, and held a press conference. He assured his ardent supporters that a comprehensive illegal immigration bill would be passing in the imminent future. The president said he was pleased with the newfound bipartisan sentiment in the Senate. He applauded the progress, but declared he would intervene with his own plan if a deal was not passed in a “timely fashion.”
President Obama’s deal reportedly is more liberal than the current bipartisan proposal. He wants to more easily provide a path to citizenship to the illegal citizens, in which border security isn’t as great of a priority in his proposal. Obama’s approach to immigration reform differs from the confrontational style he adopted during the fiscal cliff negotiations and more prominently during the debt ceiling debate.
Other differences include that Obama’s plan does not have a temporary worker program, a provision often favored by businesses seeking to fill low-wage positions. Senator Rubio (R-FL) said he was “concerned” that President Obama appeared unwilling to accept the beefed up security. He says: “Without such triggers in place, enforcement systems will never be implemented and we will back in just a few years dealing with millions of new undocumented people in our country.”
The Chicago Tribune reports:
Obama’s proposal would require applicants to pay fines and submit to criminal background checks before being granted a provisional legal status. Applicants could then apply for a green card, after paying additional fees, learning English and civics, and waiting until a backlog of legal applicants is cleared. How long that process could take remains another point of contention. Obama has proposed steps to quickly reduce the legal backlog that conservatives may not accept.
I am pleased that the Senate is actually doing their job; which is pretty sad if you think about. We shouldn’t give our politicians a pat on the back for actually working. If I didn’t work I would be fired. But I digress.
I don’t think President Obama should have flown to Nevada to hold his press conference. He won the election. He doesn’t need to continue campaigning. I think he should allow the Senators some time to pass legislation. If a deal is not brokered in a “timely fashion” then he should intervene by actually meeting with the Senators and other party leaders. At this point he still has not met with any of these leaders.
As for the Senate proposal, I think it is a good start. I think they are on the right track of solving this problem. I too think it is important to secure our borders. I specify borders, because many people assume the entire illegal immigration population is of Mexican descent. There are illegal Canadian immigrants. There are illegal immigrants from Europe, Africa and Asia. Securing all of our borders should be a top priority so that we don’t continue to get an influx of illegal immigrants.
Do you think the press conference was appropriate?
What do you think of the Senate proposal and the Obama proposal?
Is there anything else that needs to be done?
Twitter: @adrakontaidis & @talkrealdebate