Elections have consequences.
One day before President Barack Obama kicks off his push for comprehensive immigration reform, a bipartisan group of Senators has announced
agreement on a blueprint for reform:
A bipartisan group of senators has agreed on a set of principles for a sweeping overhaul of the immigration system, including a pathway to American citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants that would hinge on progress in securing the borders and ensuring that foreigners leave the country when their visas expire.
The senators were able to reach a deal by incorporating the Democrats’ insistence on a single comprehensive bill that would not deny eventual citizenship to illegal immigrants, with Republican demands that strong border and interior enforcement had to be clearly in place before Congress could consider legal status for illegal immigrants.
The senators who authored the proposal—Chuck Schumer, John McCain, Dick Durbin, Lindsey Graham, Robert Menendez, Marco Rubio, Michael Bennet, and Jeff Flake—will formally unveil their blueprint
today at 2:30 PM ET, but won't include legislative language.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is not part of the group, but an aide said that he is "fully supportive" of their efforts. Although there the framework doesn't yet include legislative language, it does not appear to go as far as President Obama would like as far as providing a path to citizenship. Greg Sargent explains:
The rub is that the process for putting undocumented immigrants — who will be granted probationary legal status — on a path to citizenship is contingent on a commission deciding that the border is secure.
That does seem to be a convoluted mess. Nonetheless, pushing a single legislative vehicle instead of taking a patchwork approach has been a major White House objective. If the Senate does end up passing a single bill that President Obama is able to support, House Republicans will face tremendous pressure either to approve it or at the very least allow it to come up for a vote, even if a majority of House Republicans oppose it.
President Obama is scheduled to speak on immigration reform in Las Vegas on Tuesday, kicking off his public push for comprehensive legislation. Last week, he met with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and told them immigration reform was his top legislative priority.
6:44 AM PT: Adam Serwer's take: