The notorious Gang of Eight U.S. Senators are expected to drop their immigration reform bill just hours before the only hearing on the topic. The bill is estimated to be 1,500 pages long.
On Friday, Jim Avila and Jordan Fabian wrote:
Four Democrats and four Republicans, known as the "Gang of Eight," wrapped up months of hard-fought negotiations this week and will put forth a bill that includes a pathway to citizenship for many of the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S.
But the legislation includes a cutoff date of December 2011, which would bar undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. after then from seeking legal status and then citizenship, according to sources.
Sources who spoke to ABC News said that the cutoff date was a Republican-backed idea designed to only allow those undocumented immigrants already assimilated into their communities to stay. But that idea may run into resistance from Democrats and immigrant-rights groups since it may exclude many undocumented immigrants from obtaining legal status.
So if they provide the bill on Tuesday the Senate Judiciary Committee will have mere hours to read and review this monster legislation. This is clearly more of a Democrat approach to getting legislation through. It isn't surprising either seeing that the bi-partisan group is not only made up of Democrats but also RINOs (Republican in name only).
"All issues that rise to the member level have been dealt with," Sen. Chuck Schumer ( D-NY) said in a statement on Thursday. "All that is left is the drafting."
Apparently this legislation is also being touted as requiring the federal government to meet certain border security benchmarks before moving forward with the "pathway to citizenship," commonly called amnesty, for illegal immigrants. If the legislation is dropped on the morning of the hearing, then the hearing should be shut down until the legislation can be read and understood. I'm not holding my breath on that.
While Gang of Eight Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) says that he is open to multiple hearings and an open and transparent immigration reform process (sounds like another politician we've heard from in recent years), his actions alongside his colleagues don't back up what his mouth is saying. In fact, he seems quite content with the single hearing.
Manu Raju writes at Politico:
Behind the scenes, the potential 2016 aspirant has already launched a lobbying campaign to convince conservatives that the plan will be tough on the border. The goal is to assuage GOP concerns over the pathway to citizenship that would be offered to the nation's 11 million illegal immigrants, allowing them to apply for citizenship after 13 years as the new enforcement measures take effect.
The Florida Republican has privately briefed individual GOP senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee — including conservative skeptics John Cornyn of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah — about the soon-to-be-unveiled proposal, according to sources familiar with the matter. His staff has pitched the plan to conservative thought leaders, including at the National Review and Wall Street Journal editorial board as well as the columnist Charles Krauthammer, sources say.
And after being rebuffed in his bid for extensive hearings on the bill before the Judiciary Committee, the senator wants to launch his own public hearing process of sorts to allow Republican senators to question expert witnesses about the plan, a move aimed at alleviating conservative fears that the plan will be jammed through Congress with little public airing.
Senator Rubio's office issued a press release, in which they quote Chris Wallace of Fox News Sunday:
"The one thing that's clear is that this isn't going to be health care reform. It's not going to be rushed through. It's going to go through the committee process. There's going to be hearings. There will be lots of amendments. And I think the only way to get buy in from some of those other 92 senators is going to be regular order, that is a very gradual slow way."
Though the press release has Wallace claiming there will be "hearings," plural, and "lots of amendments," The Washington Post's David Nakamura writes, "A bipartisan Senate group on immigration legislation is attempting to craft an agreement so secure that the eight members will oppose amendments to its core provisions, an arrangement that could delay the introduction of a bill, people familiar with the negotiations said."
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