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April 17, 2014

Posts in "Immigration"

March 14, 2014

Obama Will Reduce Deportations if GOP Doesn’t Act, Schumer Says

schumer110213 445x295 Obama Will Reduce Deportations if GOP Doesnt Act, Schumer Says

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After President Barack Obama’s decision to review immigration enforcement, Sen. Charles E. Schumer warned Republicans to let Congress act on the issue or Obama will curtail deportations on his own.

“It’s crystal clear where the issue of immigration reform is headed, and Republicans have only two choices to make,” the New York Democrat wrote in a post on his Facebook page. “They can either help pass comprehensive reform which will greatly reduce the flow of illegal immigrants, grow our economy by bringing in needed workers in high tech and agriculture areas, and provide a hard-earned path to eventual citizenship for the 11 million in the shadows, or they can sit idly by and watch the President greatly curtail deportations while 11 million continue to live in limbo here in America.” Full story

By Humberto Sanchez Posted at 11:52 a.m.

February 6, 2014

‘Gang of 8′ Mixed Over Boehner Immigration Comments

The bipartisan group of eight senators who led the charge to pass a Senate immigration overhaul were mixed over whether reservations on moving a plan voiced by Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, spells the end of the effort this year.

Sen. Jeff Flake thought that the speaker was pulling the curtain down on the effort for the year.

“I don’t know how you don’t read impossible out of those statements,” the Arizona Republican said.

He added that he was disappointed. “I wish we’d do it. We can’t keep putting it off,” he said.

But others held out hope a deal could still be reached after Boehner said that an immigration overhaul package would be difficult to pass this year in large part because Republicans don’t trust President Barack Obama to enforce the laws uniformly. Full story

Schumer: Immigration Still Possible, Despite Boehner’s Comments

schumer110213 445x295 Schumer: Immigration Still Possible, Despite Boehners Comments

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., said he still believes an overhaul of immigration laws can happen this year, despite reservations expressed Thursday by Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio.

“I read what Boehner said, he has said it before,” said Schumer, who was one of a bipartisan group of eight senators who led the effort to pass an immigration bill through the Senate in June.

“There are so many things going on,” Schumer continued. “For all we know, he had to send a message on immigration to help pass the debt ceiling. He has not said ‘I’m not doing it,’ he has not said, ‘It’s over,’ he has said ‘It will be very difficult.’ He’s right. I agree with him.” Full story

February 4, 2014

McConnell Doesn’t Expect Immigration Overhaul This Year

mcconnell020414 445x283 McConnell Doesnt Expect Immigration Overhaul This Year

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he doesn’t see an immigration overhaul happening this year.

“I think we have an irresolvable conflict here,” McConnell said. “The Senate insists on comprehensive. The House says it won’t go to conference with the Senate on comprehensive and wants to look at it step by step. I don’t see how you get to an outcome this year with the two bodies in such different places.”

His comments come after the Republican-run House released principles for doing an immigration overhaul. Some Republican want to hope to address the matter to take the issue off the table for Democrats and begin the effort to win over new voters.

The Senate passed a bipartisan, comprehensive bill in June. But the measure was not taken up by the House with many Republicans concerned over a provision in the package providing a 13-year path to citizenship to illegal immigrants, which some saw as amnesty for those that broke the law.

January 16, 2014

Reid, Schumer Encouraged by Boehner’s Immigration Push

Key Senate Democrats on Thursday were pleased to hear that Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, continues to push for an immigration overhaul.

After a news conference, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., praised the possibility of action in the House overhauling immigration laws, but he didn’t comment on the expectation that the House’s legislation would provide legal status for illegal immigrants but not have a pathway to citizenship.

“Any movement I like,” Reid said, adding “it’s way too early” to say if Democrats would back the bill.

“I am happy [the House] is doing something,” Reid said. Full story

January 14, 2014

Ayotte Pressured by Immigration Advocates

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Ayotte (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Immigrant rights advocates warned Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., that her amendment to offset an extension of unemployment insurance by eliminating child tax credits filed by undocumented workers would come back to haunt her if she seeks higher office.

“A senator, like Sen. Ayotte, who is looking at the future … even the proposal of this amendment is going to follow her everywhere,” said Lia Parada, legislative director for America’s Voice.

Parada pointed to Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee who lost the 2012 presidential election, and language he used in the GOP primary backing the idea of making the United States so inhospitable to illegal immigrants that they would self-deport. The move hurt Romney in the general election in competitive states with large Latino voters.

“Latino voters flatly rejected Mitt Romney’s self-deportation tragedy,” Parada said, adding that “any time Ayotte is mentioned and Latino voters brought up, this will follow her everywhere and will be damaging.” Full story

January 13, 2014

Democrats Whipping Ayotte Amendment, With Immigration Politics Center Stage

ayotte011314 445x296 Democrats Whipping Ayotte Amendment, With Immigration Politics Center Stage

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 11:13 p.m. | Senate Democrats have begun whipping an amendment from Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., to the stalled jobless benefits bill, hoping to use it as a political hammer against GOP senators who are looking to the measure to cater to their conservative bases.

Sources confirmed that Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin’s vote-counting operation over the weekend started gauging whether Democrats could stand firm against the proposal that would eliminate tax credits for the children of undocumented immigrants, millions of whom are American citizens. Similar legislation previously had been championed by Sens. David Vitter, R-La., and Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., who lacked support for the initiative and failed in multiple attempts to bring it to the floor.

Democrats say they are checking with their caucus to ensure they would have enough votes to block the Ayotte measure in the event they offer a vote on it to Republicans in exchange for support on cloture of the bill. The result would be a rare political test vote that could be embraced by both parties in the opening days of 2014. Republicans fearful of primaries can prove their conservative bona fides “by stopping a scheme that currently [benefits] illegal immigrants,” according to a press advisory last week. Democrats in turn can use the measure as an example of how the GOP is anti-immigrant to the point of taking punitive measure against millions of legal citizens, even in the chamber that approved a comprehensive immigration overhaul. Full story

January 8, 2014

Democrats, GOP Far Apart on Jobless Benefit Offsets


ayotte 040 010814 445x320 Democrats, GOP Far Apart on Jobless Benefit Offsets

Ayotte, left, and other GOP senators chat before a Wednesday news conference on offseting jobless benefits. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

By voting to open debate on a temporary extension of long-term jobless benefits, Republicans gave themselves leverage to force Democrats to consider cuts from elsewhere to pay for it.

But so far, the GOP has failed to come forward with a plan Democrats could support.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told CQ Roll Call he has yet to see an offer from the GOP he could take seriously. Reid has said he would prefer not to offset the emergency extension, but would consider proposals that he viewed as genuinely bipartisan efforts.

“Not yet. They’ve offered to go after Obamacare and go after little kids, so you know, those two aren’t too good,” the Nevada Democrat said.

The most recent GOP offer to pay for the extension came Wednesday from Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., who suggested Congress pay for unemployment benefits — plus a rollback of approved cost of living adjustment cuts for veterans’ pensions — by eliminating child tax credits filed by undocumented workers. Seven Republican senators stood by her side, touting its ingenuity. Republican Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., even dubbed the plan “all-American,” evoking laughs from the other senators on stage. Full story

August 30, 2013

Rand Paul: Immigration Deal Could Threaten Boehner’s Speakership

randpaul050113 600x422 Rand Paul: Immigration Deal Could Threaten Boehners Speakership

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Rand Paul suggested Friday that John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, could lose his speakership if he allowed anything similar to the Senate’s immigration bill to ever get through the House.

Paul made his comments during an appearance on conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham’s radio show during which he predicted that Boehner wouldn’t permit such a bill to emerge from a House-Senate immigration conference.

“I’m worried about conference,” the Kentucky Republican said. “The only way to avoid a problem with conference is for the speaker of the House to say we are not going to conference, and we will not allow a vote on anything coming out of conference that resembles the Senate bill, and if there were a much more limited bill that emphasizes border security first, that we would do that.”

Full story

August 2, 2013

Durbin, Harkin Meet DREAMers in Steve King’s Backyard

durbin 101 071613 445x288 Durbin, Harkin Meet DREAMers in Steve Kings Backyard

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Two senior Senate Democrats paid a visit to Republican Rep. Steve King’s Iowa House district Friday to counter his inflammatory comments about young immigrants known as DREAMers.

“The suggestion that these are petty criminals or drug smugglers, it just doesn’t square with the reality of the DREAM Act, and that’s one of the reasons I wanted to come here today,” said Illinois Democratic Sen. Richard J. Durbin.

King has insisted that young immigrant children often serve as drug smugglers, saying in one interview that many have ”calves the size of cantaloupes.” Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have repudiated those remarks. Durbin, the majority whip, joined Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, for a forum in Ames, located in King’s district.

“We do have a lot in common: a lot of corn and soybeans in our neighboring states, a lot of immigrants to our neighboring states who built it into what it is today in Iowa and in Illinois, and we have a broken immigration system,” Durbin said. “It is time for us to face the reality that if we can fix this immigration system, we can build the American economy, and we can do the right thing.” Full story

By Niels Lesniewski Posted at 12:11 p.m.

July 26, 2013

Steve King’s District Will Get DREAM Gathering Courtesy of Durbin, Harkin

Sens. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., and Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, will travel to the district of Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, to hold a forum for the DREAM Act.

The event is in response to incendiary remarks made by King last week, when the conservative congressman suggested to Newsmax that many students who qualify for the DREAM Act are criminals. “For everyone who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds — and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert,” King said.

The comments were summarily and swiftly dismissed by House GOP leaders, but Democrats see this as an opportunity to paint bright lines between their positions and Republicans’, especially as it remains unclear whether House Republicans will be able to move immigration legislation of any kind. The Senate last month approved a bipartisan, comprehensive overhaul bill. The event in Iowa could be the first of many that Democrats and backers of the legislation stage to drum up support for change. Full story

July 17, 2013

A New Governing Majority in the Senate?

immigration 118 041813 445x296 A New Governing Majority in the Senate?

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senators working together across the aisle is nothing new, but getting together in a group to negotiate is certainly in vogue, and what’s more, the “gangs” might have a window to cut through the dysfunction.

A loose governing coalition appears to be emerging, with roughly a third of the Senate’s Republicans joining nearly every Democrat in various deals to avert the “nuclear option” and pass the immigration overhaul — and, down the line, potentially avert a budget crisis.

“I think you’re going to find bipartisan groups doing many different things, more than before,” Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., told reporters Wednesday following the rollout of a new gang pushing media shield legislation.

“In the Senate, you have to work in a bipartisan way,” Schumer said. “We are legislators. We like to legislate, and it’s not very satisfying to just go to the floor and make a speech knowing that it won’t have any result in making the country a better place.”

Schumer’s been in the middle of two of the biggest bipartisan deals in recent months. He was a member of the “gang of eight” that drafted the Senate’s immigration overhaul, and more recently he worked with some of the same senators (and a few newcomers) on the deal to get a number of executive branch nominees lined up for confirmation without deploying the nuclear option to change precedents with a simple majority vote to curb filibusters.

Full story

July 16, 2013

‘Gang of 8′ Discusses House Immigration Strategy

The bipartisan Senate immigration negotiating group met Tuesday evening with approximately 35 outside groups involved in the policy debate, sources confirmed.

The previously undisclosed meeting was with groups primarily at the center-right of the political spectrum, according to one source, and centered largely on discussion over how these outside groups could help influence House Republicans, especially over the imminent August recess.

The House has yet to determine how to move forward with its legislation, and a unique coalition of outside groups from the left and right helped push the Senate toward a comprehensive bipartisan framework.

July 12, 2013

The First Post-’Nuclear’ Cabinet Nominee? (Updated)

Immigration hearing008 021313 445x312 The First Post Nuclear Cabinet Nominee? (Updated)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:08 p.m. | President Barack Obama could probably nominate anyone he wants to be the next Homeland Security secretary, assuming there are no ethical or legal issues.

That’s because Janet Napolitano’s successor at the Department of Homeland Security could be the first Cabinet choice to be nominated in a Senate without the risk of a filibuster — or maybe even a procedural hold, assuming Senate Democrats deploy the “nuclear option” to end the need for a 60-vote supermajority to overcome a filibuster of executive branch nominees next week.

There would be policy implications of a partisan choice, however. Some Republican supporters of the Senate-passed immigration overhaul are already cautioning the president to pick a successor who has the confidence of lawmakers in enhancing immigration enforcement.

Full story

July 9, 2013

House Democrats Rally Around Pathway to Citizenship, Schumer Says

Dems 03 022813 445x303 House Democrats Rally Around Pathway to Citizenship, Schumer Says

Schumer met with House Democrats Tuesday to discuss immigration legislation. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., said after a meeting with House Democrats Tuesday that there is “great unity” around providing a path to citizenship as part of any House immigration overhaul effort.

Democratic members of the bipartisan Senate “gang of eight” met with the House Democratic Caucus to discuss the legislation, which is expected to have serious difficulties clearing the Republican-controlled House.

Conservatives have expressed reservations about approving a pathway to citizenship, no matter how prolonged or regulated. But Schumer said House Democrats will not back a bill without a pathway, even if that seems like the only way to get something passed in the House and to a conference committee with the Senate. The Senate approved its immigration framework last month, 68-32.

“Bring other things up to the floor but don’t expect us to be helpful if there’s no path of citizenship also brought up to the floor,” Schumer told reporters after the meeting. “The bottom line, in my opinion and I think the opinion of the entire caucus, is that without a path to citizenship, they’ll go to conference and say, ‘Well, take our bill without a path to citizenship.’ There’s got to be a path to citizenship and I don’t think you can get Democrats to vote for things without a path to citizenship. It was our bottom line from the beginning.

Full story

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