An Inkling of Bipartisanship on Immigration Reform

Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, and Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, travelled to the White House to present the President with a three-page blueprint for a bipartisan agreement to overhaul the nation's immigration system. Details of the proposal were not released but Senator Graham noted that some of the elements included tougher border security, a program to admit temporary immigrant workers and a biometric Social Security card that would prevent people here illegally from getting jobs.

Some more background from the Los Angeles Times:

Graham also said the proposal included "a rational plan to deal with the millions of illegal immigrants already in the United States." He did not elaborate on what the plan would be. But in a recent interview, he suggested that onerous measures were unrealistic.

"We're not going to mass-deport people and put them in jail, nor should we," Graham said. "But we need a system so they don't get an advantage over others for citizenship."

So far, so good, but Senator Graham also linked progress on immigration to the healthcare bill now winding its tortuous path through the Congress.

In a statement after the Obama meeting, Graham predicted that their effort would collapse if Senate Democrats proceeded with a strategy to pass a healthcare bill through a simple majority vote -- a process known as "reconciliation." Senate leaders say they are committed to doing just that.

"I expressed, in no uncertain terms, my belief that immigration reform could come to a halt for the year if healthcare reconciliation goes forward," said Graham, who portrayed the document handed to Obama as "a work in progress."

Graham added: "For more than a year, healthcare has sucked most of the energy out of the room. Using reconciliation to push healthcare through will make it much harder for Congress to come together on a topic as important as immigration."

The President had earlier met with a group of 14 immigration advocates that stressed to the President the urgency of moving forward with a plan that rationalizes the nation's dysfunctional immigration policies. There are an estimated 12 million people believed to have entered the US illegally. In the fiscal year that ended in September 2009, the U.S. deported 388,000 illegal immigrants, according to the Department of Homeland Security -- up from 369,000 the year before.

After meeting for more than an hour with Obama, immigration advocates that included leaders from the National Immigration Forum, La Raza and the SEIU told reporters they want Schumer-Graham blueprint released before a planned March 21 demonstration at the Capitol, with a bill introduced in the Senate soon thereafter.

Immigration advocates seemed most pleased. Angelica Salas, director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, said the President agreed to help get a legislative framework out before the public in advance of the rally.

Hispanics supported President Obama in the general election by a two to one margin. The most recent polling shows that while the President's approval rating among has slipped since its peak at 73 percent last Spring, it still remains above 60 percent.

Tags: US Immigration Reform, Senator Lindsey Graham, Senator Charles Schumer, Obama Administration (all tags)

Comments

7 Comments

So basically this is bullsh*t.

It really feels more like this whole "I'm open to bipartisan immigration reform" is nothing more than a carrot, designed to try and get Dems to not use reconciliation on Health Care.  If it wasn't the first thing out of his mouth after meeting with Pres. Obama, then maybe I'd give him a tiny bit more credit.  But since it was, I'm calling bullsh*t on Sen. Graham.

by The BBQ Chicken Madness 2010-03-12 07:39AM | 0 recs
Inkling is a great term for this.
Definition of the term inkling: 1. a slight suggestion or indication; hint; intimation: They hadn't given us an inkling of what was going to happen.
2.a vague idea or notion; slight understanding: They didn't have an inkling of how the new invention worked.
Should healthcare reform be abandoned because of the demagoguery of a failed political party ?  What I see here is this: The GOP has enjoyed their paid vacation sitting up there in DC failing to block any real work that heads up through congress by way of this deeply flawed legislative process. I actually liked Pres. Bush's immigration reform package. The one in which immigrants get legal status after being here a certain number of years - but those that are not already past that grace window simply return to Mexico and get a temporary visa and can then re-apply - If I recall the key to making that proposal work hinged more on international cooperation than it did inter-party negotiation.  My concern is that the GOP is getting paid alot of money to just sit there and do nothing.  If someone went up to DC with the little group of people there, and then said - well. The GOP will finally get to work - especially on one of its hotbutton issues - and play ball with you - you'd have to visualize them somehow actually getting work done and thats kind of ridiculous.
The GOP is a failed political party. At this point, one is almost better off dealing with it as an anachronism.  America will give birth to a new political party - right now the GOP is just deadweight. It is fractured, and its message of conservatism was shattered by the past administration - that spent more than any administration in the history of the united states - all of this under a GOP led house, senate, and a supposedly conservative leaning supreme court.
Skip it. Just get back to work on Healthcare reform and ignore the reasons why the GOP are going to tell you they can't get it done. The truth is. The GOP can't get +anything+ done. Oh wait. No. The GOP got an +inkling+ of work done this year. But we paid 10 million dollars in GOP salaries for it.
by Trey Rentz 2010-03-12 08:24AM | 0 recs
how gullible does Graham think we are?

He's Lucy holding out the football for Charlie Brown to kick, promising us that if only we drop health care reform he can get us bipartisan support for immigration reform.

Given the rise of teabaggers in various GOP primaries, there is no way we will have more than a handful of Republican senators supporting any kind of immigration reform.

by desmoinesdem 2010-03-12 08:26AM | 1 recs
Tea Party will "love" national ID cards

I don't see how this goes over with their base.

 

by John DE 2010-03-12 09:25AM | 0 recs
Graham

Graham is the only GOP working with the Dems. Coker pulled out of the banking dead with Dodd, so that's probably not going anywhere. Graham is working on energy with Kerry & Lieberman, and this too.

Of all those, only energy is actually something that has widespread public support. 

Immigration reform, with its biometric Social Security card that a person could potentially have to carry around at all times (how much longer before its a tracking device as well), is sure to be anti-libertarian and politically toxic.

HCR has proven to be a huge huge fiasco, and it could prove to be the ONLY major reform bill that gets passed this session, if reconciliation is used and Graham follows through on his statement.

Could be better to pivot to energy, and come back to HCR, if its going to be done through reconciliation, after the election?

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-03-12 09:28AM | 0 recs
RE: Graham

Whether it is sincere and genuine or just a veneer, that's still more than most of the rest of the GOP at this point.

Whatever Graham's faults, he is an activist Senator. He actually makes proposals that are noteworthy because unlike most of the GOP proposals, they are not non-starters. The Paul Ryan budget roadmap is a travesty. What does Infohe or DeMint have to say either than "no, no, no." 

by Charles Lemos 2010-03-12 12:32PM | 0 recs
RE: Graham

Graham... always Graham.... I can't help thinking there is something suspicious going on here.

by vecky 2010-03-12 03:47PM | 0 recs

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