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As the pundits swoon over bipartisanship and Senate Republicans jump all over themselves to say that yes, they support the latest blueprint for comprehensive immigration reform, they seem to be mostly forgetting the teeny, tiny detail that can derail the whole thing—a pathway to citizenship that would depend upon:
... a commission of governors, law enforcement officials and community leaders from border states that would assess when border security measures had been completed.
And therein lies the rub. No one seems to agree on what kind of power this commission would have in determining when our borders are forevermore secure, thus opening up that elusive pathway to citizenship. Democratic senators say it would have an "advisory" role, while Republicans insist that:
[W]e have to make sure that the way this law is structured, [it] ensures — guarantees — that the enforcement things happen.... Yes. That's absolutely one of the key standards I bring, it's one of the key parts of our principles.
So which is it? No one seems to be sure, but the fact is, it can be the poison pill that kills any kind of immigration reform. If the only pathway to citizenship is getting an A-okay from a commission that will include Arizona's bigoted Gov. Jan Brewer—champion of SB1070, the vile walking-while-brown law—then the legislation will be nothing but a fig leaf for Republicans heading into the 2014 elections, and every Democrat should oppose it.

Granted, any legislation is probably DOA once it hits the House anyway, because let's face it, there are House Republicans who are two steps shy of requiring suspicious-looking brown people to sew a sombrero on their clothes. But do you think they would even consider anything less than a commission—that would include the nutcase who imagines headless corpses littering the desert—having the final say on when our borders are secure? No way.

The bottom line is, we don't know—and Republicans certainly aren't saying—exactly what power this commission would have. But they were certainly quick to disagree with their Democratic counterparts who said it would only have an advisory role. And without a real pathway to citizenship, any legislation masquerading as immigration reform would be meaningless.

Please join with Daily Kos and Workers' Voice by signing our petition supporting President Obama's call for comprehensive immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship.

Originally posted to Barbara Morrill on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 11:06 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Gov. Jan Drunkard, large and in charge! (5+ / 0-)

    She's the only thing standing between us and becoming a headless body in the desert! Or is that a body-less head? Either way!!

    "Teach a man to fish, he can feed himself for a life. Don’t feed fish." - Future President Paul Ryan

    by Fordmandalay on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 11:35:44 AM PST

  •  The level of authority of this commission (10+ / 0-)

    is key. As are the parameters it is mandated/allowed to use to determine whether the borders are "secure." If they are objective, numerical criteria, and if those criteria are themselves reasonable, that's one thing. But if the pathway isn't open until every conservative governor in shouting distance of the border is ready, well, that's quite another.

  •  This comission is such a stupid idea (6+ / 0-)

    and a complete way for Congress to once again pass the buck and not do its job of legislating.  If they want to set up standards for deciding when the border is secure - set up those standards.  Don't leave it to a bunch of unelected know-nothings.

    This commission is just begging to be stacked with the exact type of gridlock comprehensive immigration regulation is designed to stop.  

    •  Not congress. (5+ / 0-)

      Standards should be determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security with input from an advisory commission appointed by the Secretary with short timelines for setting standards and reporting progress.

      •  And our present Secy of DHS is a perfect (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        choice to head that commission.

      •  Why? (0+ / 0-)

        You don't understand that commissions in DC are created in order to basically stuff an issue into the bottom of a filing cabinet.

        The ONLY clever thing about how this commission idea is being presented is that it is being set up to oversee something other than the issue of immigration so that the Republicans (and cooperating Democrats) don't get busted slow-walking and/or obstructing immigration reform - they get to claim that it is the border security!

        Sarah Palin reports more sightings of Putin's Floating Head (!) and then the border is deemed to be too insecure, still.

        So how many decades are people willing to wait for reforms to be enacted and started?  Because that's the danger if this bill is passed as it is laid out now.  Immigration will be proclaimed "done", but nothing will have changed - and like healthcare it will take another 10-20 years before people will dare to revisit the issue.

  •  All of this activity on immigration & gun control (0+ / 0-)

    Will at best offer a little improvement around the edges and in the end be meaningless.

    People will be killed in mass and undocumented workers will be left to twist in the wind.

    Neither side wants to fix it.  No political or financial gain for either side of the issues.

    November 6, 2012 was my last vote for the Dems at the top of the tickets.  From now on almost anyone but Dems or Rethugs.

    Psst!!!......Mittens you are more of a poor loser than I thought.

    by wbishop3 on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 11:39:09 AM PST

  •  So . . . kabuki? Or no kabuki? (5+ / 0-)

    I tend to think, when "bipartisanship" is in play, we're looking at kabuki.

    "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

    by bryduck on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 11:39:09 AM PST

  •  as usual (4+ / 0-)

    a bipartisan geoup has come up with a meaningless framework that encloses nothing. democrats want immigration reform. republicans want to keep the furriners out. nothing new.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 11:40:50 AM PST

  •  SIMPLE QUESTION (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blue aardvark, DRo, judyms9

    ... what is the proposed funding mechanism that will be used, in order to attain a completely secure border, without growing the deficit?

    Surely they don't mean to suggest that they would embark on an expensive program such as this without including proper funding (revenue to match).

    •  If the 'Cons really want this they will (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      True North

      put it on the credit card.  Just like the two wars under "W"

      Real reform will never happen for 13 years.  That is how long it will take the 'Cons  to the the dark skinned people to vote for them.

      Psst!!!......Mittens you are more of a poor loser than I thought.

      by wbishop3 on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 11:46:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It will be funded through collections in those (0+ / 0-)

        clear cannisters next to gas station cash registers.  The reform won't actually begin until enough donations have been made.  And no fair having the clerks hand over the cannisters to the first armed stick-up men who come through their doors.

        Building a better America with activism, cooperation, ingenuity and snacks.

        by judyms9 on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 11:58:58 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  They'll probably try to find a way to (0+ / 0-)

      make new immigrants pay for it - shaking head.

  •  A pathway to citizenship is not a poison pill (0+ / 0-)

    A green card would do much good - at the end of the day immigrants who have been undocumented and in the shadows will benefit greatly if given a green card, so they can work, go in and out of the country as they please and qualify for most of the benefits. But they wont be able to vote - that is something I think most will be able to live with and will garner support for legislation from die hard GOP congress folks.

    •  Isn't a green card a pathway to citizenship? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cali Scribe

      A green card grants permanent residence, I believe. Are some green card holders eligible to proceed to apply to citizenship and others aren't?

      I agree that a person who is undocumented would benefit from becoming documented, even if it is by way of, say, renewable two-year visas. That's better than no status at all.

      I don't like the idea that the people who are green-lighting, or blockading, permanent residence and eventual citizenship for every single undocumented person are a handful of people who hold state office.

      •  Prior to this legislation being presented by (0+ / 0-)

        the 8 bipartisan senators, there was talk of allowing legal status. There was no mention of a "green" card, perhaps another, newly created document. Of course, the Repukes don't favor a path to citizenship, as they're afraid of creating more Dem voters, which makes this latest proposal almost shocking. However, the Repukes have now found their fly in the ointment. So, they look like they've done something on immigration reform, but it's illusive. That's what they mean by "proper messaging."

  •  Amnesty? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRo, judyms9, spacecadet1

    I wonder if some of the reasons that the word "amnesty" riles up the folks on the right is its use to repatriate people fled the Vietnam draft?—you know, those people who couldn't game the deferment system or let daddy pull some strings to get them into a cush ANG job.

    My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.—Carl Schurz
    "Shared sacrifice!" said the spider to the fly.—Me

    by KingBolete on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 11:48:45 AM PST

    •  I think it's more the connotation (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      judyms9, ratcityreprobate, HappyinNM

      that it's a "free pass" without consequences. But it's not like those who participate in this program will automatically be handed their citizenship -- it's a "pathway" to citizenship; they'll still need to take the tests that every other immigrant takes, they'll have to either have a job or be in college or the military, and other requirements.

      There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

      by Cali Scribe on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 11:58:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  You aren't devious enough by half (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    judyms9, HappyinNM, BachFan

    Pass the law as is, and watch the Latino vote for Democrats soar to 90% or more in the border states so that they can elect the commission members.

    You want to turn Texas blue before 2024? This would do it.

    Economics is a social *science*. Can we base future economic decisions on math?

    by blue aardvark on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 11:49:18 AM PST

  •  By golly if North Korea can have secure borders... (0+ / 0-)

    than so can we! [/snark].

          Seriously, when you make it hard for people to get into the country you also make it harder for Americans to travel abroad. Foreign countries have a tendency to retaliate with travel restrictions of their own. I wonder if the xenophobes have considered that?

    “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.” Lyndon Baines Johnson

    by spacecadet1 on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 11:50:54 AM PST

  •  My guess: (0+ / 0-)

    Republicans will insist the only way for people to become real citizens is by sponsorship through people who are associated with "legitimate" religious institutions. Otherwise they will have to wait longer. And no voting until they get sponsored.

  •  Jan's minions speak out (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRo, judyms9, Aquarius40, HappyinNM
    Why should we pander to the Hispanic community. If they view themselves as Mexican,Cuban or something else other than American I dont give a D--n about their views.
    Sample nativism and low information, 60 miles from the border.

    Of course, as they speak, they stand on land that once belonged to Mexico, but ni modo.  We always say, we didn't move, the border moved.  And so it did. Unfortunately, we could not keep out the people from Iowa.

    Research Shows Poverty Creates the Biggest Achievement Gap.

    by Desert Rose on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 11:56:05 AM PST

  •  If I'm the hotel maid, (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    judyms9, DRo, BachFan, HappyinNM, spacecadet1

    how's this supposed to work?

    I come forward to tell you I am here illegally, you put my name on a list, you run a criminal background check on me, and then you tell me to learn English well enough to pass a citizenship test so many years later and you tell me I owe fines and back taxes?

    Which should all be a breeze in my spare time and on a maid's income.

    Why would I want to do this? Why would I trust that this isn't a deportation scheme?

    Why don't you just give my kid a decent education and leave me alone.

    •  Good points. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I suspect these issues are what keeps many Hispanics from voting. Even f they are legal, some in their families may not be, and they don't want to call attention.

      Be the change you want to see in the world. -Gandhi

      by DRo on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 12:26:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  There's more to the story. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      There are many immigrants who are here without their families. They can't visit them, because that means they'll have to cross the border to come back. If they have legal status or full citizenship, they can visit their families and act as sponsors for them, if that's what they choose. I don't know what kind of fines they're considering, but many undocumented workers have fake Social Security cards. That means taxes are withheld from their paychecks, but they don't file for refunds. The US just keeps all that money. In those cases, there probably wouldn't be any back taxes. If the government creates barriers for them, like a deportation scheme, that information will spread quickly. If this is real immigration reform, it will be a good thing for the immigrants.

    •  Back taxes might be a deal killer (0+ / 0-)

      for some folks. That might be decades of worth of taxes!

      Why should immigrants have to pay back taxes when Exxon pays NONE???

      The civil rights, gay rights and women's movements, designed to allow others to reach for power previously grasped only by white men, have made a real difference, and the outlines of 21st century America have emerged. -- Paul West of LA Times

      by LiberalLady on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 05:52:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The bill absolutely should NOT be stopped by (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Dems just because there is no way for a path to citizenship.

    The point is to get 11 million people legal in the country. Stop the worry that they will be arrested and deported, and torn from their families/friends/jobs.

    Citizenship is nice, and certainly for the kids who were brought here and lived their whole lives, they should be given citizenship if they want it.  However, it would be a huge step forward to just let people get on with their lives legally for starters!!

    I have a couple of dear friends who are illegal. They have no interest in becoming citizens. They just don't want the wrath of the federal govt hanging over their heads day to day by not being in the country legally. They don't want their relationships ripped asunder by a deportation.

    Frankly, I'm not sure why someone who comes here illegally should be rewarded with citizenship, unless they are fully at the back of the line of everyone else who did  it legally.

    Corporations before people.... it's the American way!

    by Lucy2009 on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 12:10:25 PM PST

  •  Probably Unconstitutional (0+ / 0-)

    Given the Federal Government has sole responsibility for both border security AND immigration, any ceding of either task to state and/or local actors would likely fail Constitutional tests.  Further, if that task cost money, and it always does, the Feds would wither have to pay or the states could refuse to participate.  I would be interested to see what the bill will say if states refuse.  If I were evil (read Republican) and writing the bill I would make it so LACK of input from the states stops reform.

    It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

    by ksuwildkat on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 12:14:40 PM PST

  •  the bill is a sham if this stays in it (0+ / 0-)

    No such commission will ever agree that the borders are secure.  Hispanic voters aren't stupid and will understand that any final bill with this in it means the idea of future citizenship is a mirage - won't happen.  Which is WHY the GOP Senators included this in the package.

  •  Head fake (0+ / 0-)

    The Republican Party is writing its own political obituary by consistently antagonizing Hispanic voters and gleefully embracing a narrative that paints Hispanics and immigrants as dangerous "outsiders" destroying America. Politically motivated and disgustingly transparent grabs for Hispanics support by concocting fake immigration policies will not work. The core of the party is hateful and xenophobic. Just putting Marco Rubio on the ticket is an offensive lap that would patronize Hispanic voters when the GOP's policies are devastatingly anti-Latino.  -  progressive

  •  The bigger problem (0+ / 0-)

    Our legal immigration system is badly overloaded as it is, and there will be a temptation to continue ignoring this problem.  A path to citizenship isn't much good if it will take 30 years to get there.

    You have the power to change America. Yes We Can. Yes We Did. Yes We Will.

    by CA Pol Junkie on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 12:35:26 PM PST

  •  I'm pretty much a liberal, but... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IT Professional

    I would like to know:
    What impact will granting citizenship to 11 million illegal aliens have on the working class of this country?

    At the end of the day, I stand for the working class, and I just don't see amnesty for illegals helping our cause here. I see this as a way to undermine unions, slash wages and benefits.

    •  Because so many (0+ / 0-)

      Americans are lining up to be migrant farm workers?

      •  there it is (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        IT Professional

        the old "doing the jobs "Americans" don't want to do. Sorry, but I don't think we need to change the rules of the free market so we can eat cheap lettuce. Pay a fair wage to legal US citizens to pick the lettuce, if I have to pay more at the market, so be it.
        Cheap, illegal labor is no reason for granting citizenship.

        •  You're probably alone on that score! (0+ / 0-)

          Few Americans would be willing to pay more for lettuce, and I think even fewer employers would be willing to pay that fair wage without being forced to. One reason unions in California are gaining strength, slowly, is because of Latino participation. Immigrants don't have to be the enemy of unions or the working class.

          The civil rights, gay rights and women's movements, designed to allow others to reach for power previously grasped only by white men, have made a real difference, and the outlines of 21st century America have emerged. -- Paul West of LA Times

          by LiberalLady on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 06:01:13 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I wonder if this problem solves itself (0+ / 0-)

    The only way this idea ever gets through congress is if there is a chance that committee signs off on immigration reform. And to make that happen, the committee will have to operate with some fairly significant constraints.

    Do you think Jan Brewer would ever even attend such a committee? My guess is that she and her ilk would immediately boycott it.

    So yeah, there's no way this idea works in ints current iteration. Either it will be set up to succeed, or not exist at all.

  •  Not even bank vaults (0+ / 0-)

    are 100% secure.

    Bipartisanship: I'll hug your elephant if you kiss my ass

    by Uranus Hz on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 02:09:22 PM PST

  •  Commission is bullshit (0+ / 0-)

    It's a bad idea.  We must be careful that this bill does nothing but create a mass of second class citizens.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 04:45:45 PM PST

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