Skip to main content

Immigration reform advocates refuse to see the Gang of 8's bill suffer the same fate as gun control legislation:

Although rejection of a bipartisan gun control measure could be an ominous precursor to trouble for immigration reform, supporters insisted Thursday that their powerful coalition will help them avoid a similar fate.

Democrats and Republicans supporting an immigration reform bill said varied interests, including labor and business, and public pressure on both political parties would propel immigration reform legislation to passage.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said “powerful outside forces have helped defeat certain other initiatives in Washington.’’

“But on immigration, the opposite is proving true. I am convinced this issue will not fall victim to the usual partisan gridlock,’’ Schumer said.

Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona said the bill is supported by a growing number of GOP lawmakers following the last election where Latinos overwhelmingly supported Democratic candidates.

“Republicans have to compete,’’ McCain said, and passage of the bill would help the GOP reach out to Latinos “on a level where we can compete in the battle of ideas.’’

Schumer and McCain were part of the four Democrats and four Republicans known as the Gang of Eight who drafted the immigration reform bill introduced earlier this week. - Houston Chronicle, 4/18/13

That's why immigration reform advocacy groups are going after one of their biggest rivals, Senator Jeff Sessions (R. AL):

WASHINGTON - JULY 13:  Ranking member Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) makes his opening statement during the confirmation hearings for Judge Sonia Sotomayor before the Senate Judiciary Committee July 13, 2009 in Washington, DC. Sotomayor, now an appeals court judge and U.S. President Barack Obama’s first Supreme Court nominee, will become the first Hispanic justice on the Supreme Court if confirmed.  (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Immigration advocates are targeting Republican Sen. John Cornyn in a effort to make sure the minority whip won’t stand in the way of immigration legislation.

The Dream Action Coalition has also singled out Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.

A bipartisan group of senators, known as the “Gang of Eight,” introduced a bill to overhaul the nation’s immigration system early Wednesday morning. The bill addresses border security, creates a guest-worker program and outlines a path to citizenship for the 11 million immigrants already in the U.S. illegally.

“Senator Sessions, immigration’s staunchest opponent, should not stand in the way of modernizing our system, and Senator Cornyn should not followed [sic] his lead,” said a statement from the Dream Action Coalition. - Houston Chronicle, 4/17/13

Can't blame them going after Sessions because he's not open to the whole immigration reform thing:

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Sessions warned that the nation’s undocumented immigrants would “be able to immediately apply for much better jobs than they currently have.” “Maybe they were working at a restaurant part time. Now they’re going to be truck drivers, heavy-equipment operators competing at the factories and plants and we’ve got an unemployment rate that’s very high,” he said.

Millions of Americans are still looking for work, but there is little economic evidence to support Sessions’ concerns. Research shows that immigrants and native-born workers have different levels education, occupation, and skill sets, compete in different job markets and are actually more “likely to compete against offshoring than against each other.” Economists argue that legalization leads to better jobs and higher earning power, significantly increasing tax revenue, boosting consumer spending, and supporting 750,000 to 900,000 additional jobs. Studies conducted in the aftermath of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act also concluded that legal status raises the “wage floor” for the economy and increases take-home pay for immigrants and native workers alike.

Sessions’ worries don’t end there, however. The Alabama senator also claimed that the border-security requirement in the proposed bill are “in some ways appears weaker than the one in 2007″ — even though border security has improved significantly since the last time Congress tackled immigration reform. The federal government spent $18 billion — more than on every other federal law enforcement agencies combine — to secure the border during the 2012 fiscal year and has now exceeded the goals and targets set out in the failed 2007 immigration legislation. For instance, there are now more border agents deployed at the Southern border and increased consequences for illegal crossings. - Think Progress, 4/16/13

Sessions buddy, Senator "Diaper Dave" Vitter (R. LA) has joined him in attacking the Gang of 8's bill:

WASHINGTON - MARCH 24:  Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) speaks during a press conference on President Obama's proposed budget at the U.S. Capitol March 24, 2009 in Washington, DC. Republicans contend that the budget with double the size of the national debt by 2016.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Flanked by a group of law enforcement officials and advocates from around the country, Sens. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and David Vitter (R-La.) decried the 844-page immigration bill as a measure long on leniency and short on border enforcement.

“Like in 2007, this bill is amnesty before enforcement,” Sessions said in a news conference timed to coincide with the public roll-out of the Senate legislation, which occurred in an adjacent Capitol office building.

Buoyed by the support of conservative Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), the Republican authors of the Senate plan argue that the linking of border enhancements to a path to citizenship means that no one in the country illegally would be eligible for citizenship before concrete security benchmarks are met.

But Sessions and Vitter criticized provisions in the bill that would grant a provisional legal status to some illegal immigrants before the benchmarks are met.

“We’re very concerned that this bill is the same fundamentally flawed model from the past,” Vitter said. “It’s immediate amnesty with a promise of enforcement.” - The Hill, 4/18/13

And of course, Sessions had to throw Obamacare into his beef with the bill:

"This bill opens up citizenship to recent arrivals and, remarkably, millions who overstayed their visas, Sessions said, adding, "It even opens up citizenship to those who have been deported from the country."

The bill would, thus, increase the unfunded liability of Obamacare by $2 trillion and of Medicare/Social Security by $2.5 trillion:

"Economic concerns abound as well. Once illegal immigrants are granted green cards, they will become eligible for generous welfare and entitlement programs. Because of how these benefits are structured, low-wage illegal immigrants who are legalized will ultimately receive trillions more in benefits than they contribute to these programs.

"Obamacare alone, over the long term, will see its unfunded liability grow by $2 trillion. The unfunded obligation for Medicare and Social Security, together, would likely increase by $2.5 trillion." - CNS News, 4/18/13

Here's what the Gang of 8's bill entails:
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 28:  (L-R) U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and Senate Majority Whip Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) listen during a news conference on a comprehensive immigration reform framework January 28, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. A group of bipartisan senate members have reached to a deal of outlines to reform the national immigration laws that will provide a pathway for the 11 million illegal immigrants in the country to citizenship.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
The Senate bill calls for $6.5 billion in new spending and 3,500 new Customs and Border Protection agents to increase security along the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border.

It also would create a 13-year path for citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants who pay up to $2,000 in fines, pass criminal background checks and learn English.

Agricultural workers and children brought into this country illegally by relatives, known as “DREAMers,’’ would be able to get citizenship within five years. - Houston Chronicle, 4/18/13

Despite it's criticism from groups like the ACLU and The Associated Builders and Contractors, the bill is backed by the Chamber Of Commerce, the AFL-CIO, America’s Voice Education Fund and even this guy:

Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist talks during the Politico Playbook Breakfast at the Newseum in Washington, DC, November 28, 2012.      AFP Photo/Jim WATSON        (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
  “The Senate proposal takes serious steps to fix our immigration problem that are rooted in conservative principles. The bill provides a tough but fair path to citizenship for those who are here and willing to work and support themselves. And it facilitates more legal immigration, which will enhance our labor markets and spur economic growth.

    “Conservative economists, taking into account both the costs and benefits of reform, predict trillions of dollars in economic growth. The dynamic effects of immigration reform are very important: This bill will increase the size of our American workforce, as well as its productivity. Much needed highly skilled talent will start businesses and create jobs in the United States, rather than receiving an American degree and returning home to compete with us. And temporary and seasonal workers will fill jobs that remain vacant, strengthening and enlarging the American workforce.

    “To be sure, this legislation is not perfect. Our economy needs a more robust guest worker program to ensure a vibrant labor supply and discourage future illegal immigration. But it is a solid proposal worthy of conservative support. People are an asset, not a liability. It is time our immigration system reflects that fact, and we allow more workers to pursue the American Dream.” - TPM, 4/17/13

The bill also has backing from Sessions home state:

Members of the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice today expressed strong support for the immigration law overhaul proposed by a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators.

The Rev. Angie Wright of Greater Birmingham Ministries said the proposal gives hope to millions of people aspiring to become U.S. citizens.

"We see that it is a major step forward in fixing an immigration system that everyone agrees is broken," Wright said during a noon conference call.

Rosa Calderon, who lives in the Harvest community in Madison County, said she was "very, very happy with the proposal and to see us come together as a nation."

Calderon said it was not a perfect bill and called on members of Congress from Alabama to lead and come up with solutions to address changes to immigration law. Calderon said of lawmakers who oppose the measure, "in my opinion, they support the status quo."

U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, whose office was visited by 250 ACIJ supporters last week, urging him to support immigration reform, expressed opposition to the Senate proposal this morning. Sessions said the nearly 844- page bill needed months of serious review. -, 4/17/13

But Sessions keeps on fear mongering the bill:

"The amount of immigration is going to be far more than most Americans think," said Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. He predicted that once the facts on the bill are known, the Senate might reject it. "Matter of fact, I don't think it's going to become law as written. It's far more monumental than people realize," Sessions said. - Huffington Post, 4/16/13
If Sessions really cared about Alabama's economy, he actually would be a supporter of immigration reform:

On Sunday, the Associated Press reported worker shortages have prompted some Alabama farmers who grow labor-intensive produce to plant less, rather than have crops rot in the fields again this year. Last fall Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley signed a tough law combating illegal immigration, which prompted undocumented workers to flee the state. Few locals will perform the grueling work of picking crops, and farmers stuck in a agricultural system built on illegal labor are struggling to find replacements before their produce rots.

Alabama’s situation is not unique. Georgia passed a similar immigration law in 2011. When undocumented workers fled, farmers lost around 40% of their workers and $140 million worth of blueberries, melons, onions, and other crops due to labor shortages. This year Georgia farmers again fear they will be short on workers to pick the crops, and many have scaled back production or stopped planting altogether.

It’s not only Southern states; farmers all across America are dependent on migrant labor. For example, immigrants make up 40% of Wisconsin’s dairy industry workers and almost one in three U.S. farming and fishing workers is from Mexico.

There are approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. today. However, trends are shifting dramatically. Legal and illegal immigration from Mexico, which boomed over the past 40 years, flattened in 2005 and now seems to be decreasing, according to a 2012 report released by the Pew Research Center. Decreasing migration rates coupled with tougher state immigration laws are hurting America’s farmers, who rely on the labor.

Many farmers want to hire local workers, but it is increasingly difficult to find U.S. natives with the proper skills. Few are willing or able to perform the physically taxing and low paying labor which requires them to move with the crops, even with wages of $15-$20 an hour. Georgia recently experimented with creating a program that allowed parolees to work as farm laborers, but it was unsuccessful when they wouldn’t — or couldn’t — endure the grueling days. - Policy Mic, 6/25/12

I for one refuse to see immigration reform suffer the same fate as background checks either.  The Gang of 8's plan isn't perfect but we have a real chance to get it passed.  Keep up the pressure and call your Senator and Congressman that you want them to support immigration reform:



Originally posted to pdc on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 07:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by LatinoKos and In Support of Labor and Unions.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    We Won, quaoar, Alma, terrybuck, Sylv, greenchiledem

    Funny Stuff at

    by poopdogcomedy on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 07:00:18 AM PDT

  •  Sessions is a disgrace (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alma, terrybuck, Sylv

    He is unfit to hold any public office. It is all anyone needs to know about him that he was rejected for a U.S. district court judgeship thanks to the opposition of his own home state senator, Howell Heflin.

    Unfortunately he has managed to make a successful political career through fearmongering.

    And the even bigger shame is that because the Alabama Democratic Party is in a shambles, there is zero chance that either he or Richard Shelby will have to worry about any challenge other than from an even bigger asshole in a GOP primary.

  •  I've always had (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    terrybuck, Sylv

    an odd reaction to Sen. Sessions.  Whenever I see or hear him I break out in curse words and have a strong desire to throw things at the tv.  My family has tried to help me over come this phenomena by telling me to picture him dressed as a gnome with a pointy hat.  It has helped some, but not very much.

    Getting him out of the senate would be a big plus for me and my tv.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site