The immigration battle continues in the Senate today as there will be a procedural cloture vote to curb debate.
Am I missing something here? Barack Obama and his administration is focused on climate change and the Congress is engulfed in a battle over immigration. Are these two issues that Americans even really care about? That's not to say that Congress only engages in debate on issues that Americans are focused on, but there are certainly more pressing issues at this time.
Nonetheless, here we are debating the issue of immigration reform, so let's make sure that whatever is accomplished is done right. I maintain the need for border security first. What do Americans think? In a brand new Pew Research Center/USA Today survey, here's how Americans feel:
The national survey by the Pew Research Center and USA TODAY, conducted June 12-16 among 1,512 adults, finds that 43% say that people in the U.S. illegally should be allowed to seek legal status only after effective border control is established, while 49% say this can occur while border security improvements are being made …
Republicans who agree with the Tea Party favor a “border security first” approach by more than two-to-one (67% to 27%). Non-Tea Party Republicans are divided (47%-47%) …
Liberal Democrats, by 74% to 23%, say the process of applying for legal status should go forward while border security is being increased. But only about half (53%) of the party’s conservatives and moderates agree.
So America is split, and even within the parties we are split on this issue. The one point most people seem to agree upon is that deporting millions of illegal immigrants isn't a realistic option. I would agree. But there isn't really a consensus or demand to solve the problem. This is where Washington seems to be in its bubble. Chuck Schumer says that if the House fails to consider or pass immigration reform, “I could see a million people on the Mall in Washington.” Really? Maybe I'm wrong, but I just don't see the demand for immediate action to be taken on this issue. Americans are focused right now on finding jobs, keeping within their tight budgets, navigating life's curveballs which include those thrown their way by the government. Schumer says that “this has the potential of becoming the next major civil rights movement.” Even if that is the case, it needs to be handled correctly, within the law and done so in a way that prevents us from having this debate in another few years.
There was a lot of controversy over the weekend as to whether or not Senators have even had time to read the entire law/amendment. We've seen this happen before with big government proposals; Nancy Pelosi told us that with ObamaCare we simply needed to pass the bill so that we could find out what's in it. Look how well that turned out! I'm not saying that the current immigration reform proposal is as big a boondoggle as ObamaCare, but Americans demand better from these politicians in Washington. They at least want to know that they are passing legislation and they know what is actually in it! For example, the most connected guy in Washington Jamie Dupree points out that this 1,200 page amendment to the Gang of Eight plan has been loaded up with all sorts of goodies unrelated to border security. For example, a $1.5 billion jobs plan has been added into the amendment along with things like help for seafood processors in the state of Alaska. In other words, this has become nothing more than a big government bill, filled with goodies in order to buy votes. This is just dumb. The American people deserve better.
Politically, Gang of Eight member Lindsey Graham insists that immigration reform is necessary for the GOP in order to “get reattached to Hispanics.” I'm just not sure I believe that anymore. I'd like for someone to explain to me how not securing the border and legalization will somehow mean that Hispanics flock to the Republican Party. Democrat Gang of Eight member Chuck Schumer says, “There will be huge pressure on Speaker Boehner not to block immigration reform because that would consign the Republican Party to minority status.” Really? I'm not sure that he's right about that. If Republicans don't get their act together on a host of other issues, I could see them becoming the minority once again, but I don't think immigration reform is the issue that will do it.