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Immigration Reform Debate
A Chronology of the News CoverageConsider reducing your electric bills, sign up for Stream Energy today!
Like us on Facebook Page Updated December 31, 2013
Go to the 2014 Chronology of Coverage in Immigration Reform

Dec. 21: The Hill: Reid: Boehner will cave in on immigration reform next year:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) believes Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) will negotiate on comprehensive immigration reform next year, despite his declarations to the contrary.  The Democratic leader argued that Boehner has a new willingness to confront Tea Party groups and this, in turn, gives Reid confidence that he will not have to break up the Senate immigration bill to negotiate a series of piecemeal reforms with the House. 

“I think that John Boehner will conference with the Senate. Why wouldn’t he? He’ll have a lot of pressure from his members now that the election is getting closer,” Reid said in an interview with The Hill.  “Some of his members are in very marginal districts where they need to do something on immigration,” he added.
Boehner has vowed he will not let the Senate bill, which spans more than 1,200 pages, reach the negotiating table. The most controversial element of the package is a provision granting a pathway to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants.   “We have no intention of ever going to conference on the Senate bill,” Boehner told reporters last month.

Dec. 7: The Hill:  Immigration advocates hoping budget deal will rescue immigration reform:
Few in Washington want to see House and Senate negotiators strike a budget deal more than advocates for immigration reform.  Their interest is not so much in the policy as the timing. The unending fiscal battles have repeatedly stolen the spotlight from immigration in the House, and the government shutdown in October sapped the legislative push of both time and political good will.

With Speaker John Boehner (R-O) taking steps to revive immigration reform, advocates now see one remaining window for action in the early part of 2014, before election season begins.  But that opportunity will be lost, lawmakers and aides say, if yet another budget fight erupts in January and February.    Current federal funding runs out on Jan. 15, but House and Senate leaders are hoping to finalize a modest budget deal before lawmakers head home for the holidays.  An agreement would clear the legislative calendar in the New Year, and combined with an expected push from President Obama in his State of the Union address, immigration reform could have the moment its advocates have been waiting for.

Dec. 6: Politico: White House fears immigration blame:
President Barack Obama wasn’t happy when a heckler interrupted his immigration speech in San Francisco last month.  That was just the beginning.  Since Ju Hong’s protest of the administration’s deportation policies, the graduate student and periodic immigration protestor has gone on a media blitz, appearing on outlets from the BBC to Bay Area local news to Korean radio along with writing a Huffington Post column.  More worrisome for the White House, the incident prompted an extensive discussion of Obama’s aggressive deportation policies on Spanish-language television and tapped a long-simmering nerve among immigration activists that Obama has failed to stem the tide.

For the White House, the risk is that its efforts to channel public anger at House Republicans for inaction on immigration will be taken over by activists unhappy over the fact Obama has sent away more people than during every other presidency combined. Latino voters helped push Obama to victory in key battleground states in 2012, but if Latino enthusiasm for Democrats wanes, the party risks alienating or splintering the group.  “Because of one specific action the narrative of this immigration issue has changed,” Hong said in an interview. “We’ve been talking about Congress and blaming Congress, but with the action that I took, I strongly believe that the message has shifted to President Obama.”

Oct. 29: The Daily Caller: U.S. Chamber pressures Boehner to move on Senate immigration bill
Business and progressive groups rallied at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Oct. 29 to reassure Speaker of the House John Boehner that he’ll get their political support if he schedules a major vote on immigration.  “He’s said in the press that the House should take up immigration reform and he plans to do it,” said Randel Johnson, the chamber’s vice president for immigration. “I think he wants to get this done, but it is our job to show that there is support in the business community and the evangelical community and in other conservative Republican groups that they’ll be there to back him up when he makes his decisions,” he told The Daily Caller.

“We’ve got his back,” said Johnson, a former congressional staffer, who has known Boehner for 20 years.  If Boehner schedules a floor vote on the Senate bill or on a joint conference report similar to the Senate bill, it would likely pass, despite strenuous opposition from GOP-friendly and single-issues groups.  The bill would pass because almost the entire Democratic caucus will support the ambitious bill. Business lobbies and progressive reporters would then concentrate their efforts to persuade roughly 20 GOP [RINO] legislators to approve the unpopular bill.

The opponents include conservatives, tea party groups and organizations such as the Federation for American Immigration Reform and NumbersUSA. Many  polls show the Senate bill is unpopular among swing voters, and especially among GOP-leaning voters. Also, numerous GOP legislators say President Barack Obama can’t be trusted to negotiate or implement his side of any immigration deal.

Oct. 29:   Breitbart.com: McCain: We’ll pass immigration bill after the GOP Primaries
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) gave the clearest indication that proponents of comprehensive immigration reform may make their final--and strongest--push to get legislation passed next year after House Republicans make it through their primaries.   “I think conventional wisdom is that time is not on our side,” McCain told reporters on Monday after an event in Chicago. “But there are a number of members of Congress who have primaries and when those primaries are done, they may be more inclined to address the issue of comprehensive immigration reform.”

President Barack Obama has urged Congress to pass immigration reform legislation this year. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is reportedly going to bring legislation to the floor within the next month and other House Republican leaders have indicated support for piecemeal pieces of legislation that can make it to conference with the Senate, where proponents and opponents of immigration reform had said a pathway to citizenship will prevail. 

Though the Congressional Budget Office has determined the Senate's immigration bill would lower the wages of working class Americans, House Republicans are reportedly working on piecemeal pieces of legislation to eventually get to conference with the Senate. McCain's comments indicate even if the current puch to enact comprehensive immigration reform fails, the real fight may be in the spring and summer of next year, when Obama could use immigration as a midterm election issue and Republican lawmakers will not be worried about primaries in the 2014 election cycle.

Oct. 28: The Daily Caller: ICE Union calls on Congress to investigate DHS prior to moving any immigration reform legislation:
With advocates pushing House members to move on immigration reform this week, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement union is calling on lawmakers investigate the Department of Homeland Security. “If these groups were concerned about public safety, national security and the rule of law they would be joining our call for an investigation of the Department of Homeland Security,” National ICE Council president and ICE officer Chris Crane wrote in an open letter to Members of Congress Monday. “In fact, we are urging all lawmakers to demand an investigation of DHS before moving immigration bills.”

He wrote that political appointees in the department have been ordering ICE officers to “ignore the law,” public safety has been eroded, officers face disciplinary action for doing their jobs, and morale at ICE is low.  “It doesn’t matter what kind of legislation Congress comes out with as long as presidents of the United States can pick and choose what parts of the law they will or will not enforce. And then as President Obama has done — he has even gone beyond that — and has made his own policies, replacing law with policies,” Crane explained in an interview Monday with The Daily Caller.

Crane — who has been a vocal opponent of the Senate-passed immigration reform bill and the Obama administration’s approach to immigration enforcement — further explained that the groups pushing for immigration reform have not consulted or worked with ICE officers and do not speak on behalf of the nation’s interests.  “In fact, their actions have undermined the safety of the country and law enforcement personnel. They do not represent the interests of your constituents, the law enforcement community, or the nation itself. They have demonstrated no evident concern for the constitutional rule of law. They are interested in power and money.

Oct. 18: The Daily Caller: GOP base asks Boehner to block immigration ‘disaster’
Tea party groups and small-government activists are applying grassroots pressure to stop the House from approving the Senate immigration bill, which would triple immigration to roughly 33 million people over 10 years.  An Oct. 17 letter from more than 100 conservatives leaders and Tea party activists to Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner asks him to hold any immigration bill, no matter how small or good, because Democrats will use their power in the joint House and Senate conference to create a “disaster” for Americans.

“We ask you to make a public commitment that the House of Representatives will not conference any House immigration bill with any version of the Senate immigration, or engage in any informal negotiations to do so,” reads the one-page letter, which is accompanied by three pages of signatures from conservatives, Tea Party leaders and immigration reform groups.

Oct 17: BreitBart: Dems push to take up amnesty, think Boehner will cave:
On Thursday, President Obama took to the White House podium to announce the end of the government shutdown. In doing so, he proclaimed that he wanted to push forward with other legislative priorities, including a budget, immigration reform, and the long-stalled pork-laden farm bill. He then pushed on to immigration reform: “Number two. We should finish the job of fixing our broken immigration system.” Naturally, he blamed the Republican House for stalling his preferred immigration bill.  Republicans, however, pushed back: “It’s not going to happen this year,” said Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID). “After the way the president acted over the last two or three weeks where he would refuse to talk to the speaker of the House…they’re not going to get immigration reform. That’s done.”

Oct. 17: The Daily Caller:
With the next possible shutdown 90 days away, Obama pushes immigration reform:

The next potential government shutdown is a little over 12 weeks away and President Obama using the time to push for passage of the stalled immigration reform bill, plus approval of higher taxes and higher spending.  If the GOP doesn’t agree to his tax and spending plans in the next 90 days — despite bitter disagreement since Obama was inaugurated, almost 250 weeks ago — Obama gets to play the government-shutdown card against the GOP all over again.

The time is also compressed by the pending Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, and by Congress’ year-end recess.  The political pressure is also raised by the continued, visible failures of Obamacare.  Few young and healthy customers have signed up for the expensive government-approved medical network, and the federal survey of households showed that American employers actually reduced their full-time employment rolls while preparing for Obamacare in the first six months of the year.

Obama’s high-stakes, high-pressure strategy, however, is aided by his progressive allies, including his many supporters in the media, culture and news industries.  Throughout the partial-shutdown in October, Obama used his allies to blame the GOP for the shutdown, even though Obama declined to accept any of the GOP’s popular health-reform goals, and also blocked numerous small-scale funding bills that were passed by the GOP-led House.

Oct. 9: Breitbart.com: Immigration Agents Bash House Lawmakers push for Amnesty:
U.S. Immigration Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agents have expressed strong concerns over House Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and other Representatives pushing for immigration legislation that would legalize the
status of America’s at least 11 million illegal immigrants.   In a public statement USCIS Council president Kenneth Palinkas warned that Goodlatte, House Budget Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), and Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) seem to be following the same pathway that Senate “Gang of Eight” members did, regarding how they are working on immigration legislation.

“At every step, this administration places obstacles and roadblocks in front of our adjudication officers in their attempts to protect our nation’s security and the American taxpayer,” Palinkas said. “I documented these abuses on more than one occasion with the authors of Schumer-Rubio-Corker-Hoeven [S. 744] only to have them ignored.   "I worry the House may be following a similar path. Media reports reveal that Chairmen Goodlatte and Ryan, Congressman Luis Gutierrez, and Majority Leader Eric Cantor are working to advance proposals to open citizenship benefits to the majority of those here illegally, in combination with proposals to expand visa programs.”   Palinkas warned, too, that any group of “step-by-step” House immigration bills may be used as a tool by congressional leaders to get to a conference committee, at which point they would be combined with the Senate bill and sent to the president for his signature, and illegal immigrants would start getting amnesty.

Sept. 20: The Daily Caller: Two top GOP leaders drop out of the “Gang of Seven” immigration group blaming Obama
Two leading Republicans have dramatically quit the House’s “Gang of Seven” immigration panel, likely dealing a crippling blow to President Barack Obama’s top-priority effort to push through an immigration rewrite.  The two legislators blamed Obama’s practice of not enforcing laws, including immigration enforcement laws.  “We have reached a tipping point and can no longer continue working on a broad approach to immigration,” said a statement from the two Texas Republicans, John Carter and Sam Johnson, who were working with four Democratic legislators to craft a bill to increase immigration.

“Instead of doing what’s right for America, President Obama time and again has unilaterally disregarded the U.S. Constitution, the letter of the law and bypassed the Congress — the body most representative of the people — in order to advance his political agenda,” they wrote.  “We will not tolerate it. Laws passed by Congress are not merely suggestions, regardless of the current atmosphere. … Laws are to be respected and followed by all — particularly by the Commander-in-Chief,” said the statement.

Obama’s deputies have said one of his top legislative priorities is passage of a bill to double immigration.  The sharp criticism of Obama suggests that House Speaker John Boehner does not intend to schedule a House vote on the Senate’s immigration bill. Without a House vote, the Senate’s July immigration bill will not become law.

Aug. 16: The Daily Caller: Poll shows support for immigration but not if doing so adversely affects U.S. Job Market:
The Senate immigration rewrite aims to dramatically increase foreign immigration levels, which reduced-immigration groups like Numbers USA believes will raise unemployment and reduce wages among less-educated, low-skill Americans.
“This poll frames the issue the way we want to frame it … in a jobs context,” said Roy Beck, head of Numbers USA, which wishes to reduce the annual influx of 1 million immigrants and 650,000 non-agricultural guest workers.

“Americans don’t like the idea of increased immigration in the Senate bill … and a plurality of them would rather reduce immigration,” he said. Many polls, including Beck’s new poll, show how the public is conflicted over immigration. Many Americans want to welcome immigrants, even illegal immigrants. But the polls also show the same people worry about the impact on Americans’ jobs. These conflicting views ensure that public relations campaigns, skewed reporting, advocacy and leaders’ statements can influence poll numbers and the beliefs of swing voters.

Aug. 15: Roll Call: Routine Congressional Tour of the TX-Mexico Border Turns Morbid:
Rep. Leonard Lance was on a routine congressional tour of the Texas-Mexico border last week when the trip became a morbid reminder of the stakes involved in an immigration overhaul.  Along with Reps. Michael McCaul, (R-TX) and Kevin Yoder (R-KS) the New Jersey Republican discovered a dead body floating face down in the Rio Grande.  “I’ve never seen a dead body in a violent situation,” Lance told CQ Roll Call via phone Thursday. “It shocked me.”

The trio of lawmakers were riding on border patrol boats along the dividing river as part of the last leg of a three-day border security tour when the convoy spotted the lifeless body of a Honduran man believed to have been killed in the ongoing Mexican drug wars.  Lance was on one boat while McCaul and Yoder were on another. All the congressmen were wearing bulletproof vests, as the area they were patrolling was a “relatively dangerous region,” according to Lance. “It was a vivid reminder that we have to secure our border and do it as quickly as possible,” Lance said Thursday.

Aug. 1: Politico: Immigration activists arrested at Capitol Hill rally:
Roughly 40 leaders and activists from immigration, union, and other advocacy groups were arrested in a sit-in protest that snarled traffic near the Capitol Thursday in a show of pressure on the GOP-led House to act on comprehensive immigration reform.  Among the activists arrested during the midday protest just outside the Cannon House Office Building were top officials from the AFL-CIO, the Campaign for Community Change, the Service Employees International Union, Communications Workers of America and the United Farm Workers. Those arrested have been charged with blocking passage of the street Capitol Police Lt. Kimberly Schneider said in an email.

July 25: The Daily Caller: Pro-immigration Cato Institute proposes banning immigrants from welfare:
A new study from the Cato Institute has proposed denying welfare to noncitizens in order to help pass comprehensive immigration reform. The report, “Building a Wall around the Welfare State, Instead of the Country,” found that non-citizens use $29 billion in welfare from five means-tested welfare programs annually, though author Alex Nowrasteh, a Cato Institute immigration policy analyst, held that immigration is beneficial to federal coffers in the long run.

Although $29 billion may seem like a drop in the well compared to the in total welfare spending, the report suggested that prohibiting non-citizen access to welfare would have a “relatively small yet positive fiscal effect.”

July 23: The Hill: GOP-White House Immigration Tension  Boils Over in Public!
Tensions over immigration reform flared into the open Tuesday as the White House and House Republicans exchanged rhetorical barbs over the GOP’s commitment to an issue central to President Obama’s agenda. White House press secretary Jay Carney criticized as “laughable” a claim by Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) that nobody had done more than him to fix the nation’s immigration system. The House Republican chairman of the immigration subcommittee, meanwhile, attacked White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer as a “demagogic, self-serving political hack” for his criticism of an emerging GOP proposal.

The back-and-forth marked a departure from the careful tone that both the White House and Republican leaders had adopted on immigration in recent months, with Democrats growing increasingly impatient with the House’s slow-moving, piecemeal approach to the issue. It also underscored the perilous path for the legislative push in the GOP-controlled House, which is likely to break for a five-week August recess without considering any immigration bills on the floor.

The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday held an initial hearing on the legal status of immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents. The panel’s chairman, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) are crafting legislation to grant this limited population a path to citizenship, but Democrats have warned that they would not support proposals that do not address all 11 million illegal immigrants.
At the hearing, Republicans made clear that they view immigrant children as unique and argued they should be treated differently from people who knowingly overstayed their visas or crossed the border illegally.

July 21: The Hill: Boehner declines to share his position on a pathway to citizenship:
Speaker John Boehner on Sunday declined to state whether he supports a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, saying that voicing his personal opinion would make it "harder for us to get a bill."  The Ohio Republican also refused to answer whether he would bring an immigration measure to the floor that includes a citizenship process.  "I’m not going to predict what's going to be on the floor and what's not going to be on the floor," Boehner said in an interview with CBS's Face the Nation.  "I can't do that and I don't want to do that. My job in this process is to facilitate a discussion."

Boehner faces a tough challenge on immigration reform, a major priority for some in the GOP who feel it's necessary to improve the party's image among Hispanics. But many conservative lawmakers in the House oppose measures to grant citizenship to illegal immigrants and want more attention on border enforcement.

July 18: Politico: Immigration could hinge on August recess:
The White House and its immigration reform allies are banking on the August recess as their next — and possibly last — major opportunity to compel House Republicans to act. With the issue stalled in the House, the month-long congressional break is the linchpin of a campaign that President Barack Obama, Senate immigration leaders and a broad coalition of groups now expect they’ll have to wage through the end of the year. They realize they must make progress in the next month to stand any chance of keeping the issue alive into the fall.

Some advocates are planning for a confrontational August, with a surge in protests aimed at Republican leaders and lawmakers from swing districts. Others will do what they’ve long done, sending pastors, police officers and business owners to make the conservative case for reform at town hall meetings. Working off a target list of more than 100 Republicans, all are aiming to convince the House that it has no option but to deal with immigration. The recess comes as anxiety mounts among immigration advocates. Optimism has faded amid worries that the House remains hopelessly divided on how to proceed, Republicans feel little urgency to come to a consensus, and the powerful network of reform backers aren’t making an impact. Behind the push are Senators McCain and Schumer. For some, if either of these two Senators had a hand on it, the result is already suspect!

July 18: Politico: Boehner: Immigration to pass before debt hike:
On Thursday, Speaker John Boehner gave a sliver of fresh insight into his thinking about immigration reform, saying he thinks legislation will pass the House before Congress has to wrestle with the debt ceiling. The Ohio Republican said “we’ll see, but I would hope so” when asked if an overhaul of the nation’s migrant laws would pass before the debt ceiling — which is expected to need lifting in October or November.

Pulling the veil back even more on his views on the topic, Boehner said that Americans “expect that no one who broke our laws will get special treatment.” Although Boehner urged reporters to not read too much into his remarks, it was clear Boehner was giving a brief peek at his view on a pathway to citizenship — the most controversial aspect of immigration reform.

House Republicans are still privately wrestling with immigration reform, and have settled on moving several small immigration measures — most likely when the chamber returns from its five-week August recess. The Senate passed a bipartisan comprehensive immigration bill in late June.

July 15: The Daily Caller: Protesters descend on Capitol to march against “amnesty” for American jobs:
Hundreds of people from across the country marched, sweated and called for lawmakers to end the push for “amnesty” on Capitol Hill Monday. Organized by the Black American Leadership Alliance, the protesters marched in scorching heat from Freedom Plaza to Capitol Hill, where they rallied in a demonstration against current immigration reform attempts. “There are three kinds of people who support this amnesty,” Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King said before the march. “There are those people who are elitists, who want the cheap laborers to clean their houses and mow their lawn. Another are political power brokers that want the power that comes from it, and the third are employers of elitists.”

Lawmakers and activists joined the marchers from states as far as California and Arizona in a long rally at the Upper Senate Park, where activists spoke about the Senate immigration reform’s expected effect on America and, specifically, the plight of black Americans and American workers. Marchers carried signs reading “No Amnesty,” “American Jobs for American Worker“ and “Secure the Border.” At least one sign hearkened back to Benghazi: “Where are the Benghazi survivors? Impeach Obama.” Many wore red t-shirts reading “Protect American Jobs, No Amnesty.”

July 11: Politico GOP points to taxes in rejecting immigration bill:
It’s the latest reason House Republicans say they can’t support the Senate-passed immigration bill: Taxes. Rep. Dave Camp, the influential House Ways and Means Committee chairman, said Thursday the Senate immigration bill is unconstitutional because it raises revenue. The Constitution requires revenue bills to originate in the House. This follows an earlier push by Texas Congressman Steve Stockman who urged “Blue Slipping” the Senate version for this very same reason. “The Senate bill is unconstitutional, as it includes a number of revenue-related measures such as fees, penalties, surcharges and the non-payment of taxes,” Camp (R-MI) said in a statement. “As such, any consideration of the Senate bill in the House would also be unconstitutional. The House will have to consider its own legislation.”

Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) last month urged House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to use the so-called “blue slip” process to reject the Senate bill and allow the House to craft its own immigration legislation. Given his role as the top tax writer in the House, Camp’s comments could raise the prominence of such arguments. House Republicans have avoided taking up the Senate-passed immigration legislation since it passed in June and have instead suggested they will move ahead with a series of piecemeal bills. Still, House leaders can — and do — maneuver their way around the Constitutional questions surrounding revenue bills when they want to. And Senate Democrats said they could do so now.

July 11: Politico: Goodlatte wants Young Immigrants Bill:
Two top House Republicans are writing legislation that would craft a path to legalization for young immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children. Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), the second-ranking House Republican, and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) are working on the legislation, tentatively titled the Kids Act, their aides confirmed Thursday. Though its objective is similar to that of the DREAM Act — a bill that has lingered for years that would allow eligible young, undocumented immigrants to obtain citizenship — Cantor and Goodlatte’s version is certain to have key differences from that legislation. Both lawmakers voted against the DREAM Act in December 2010.

July 11: The Daily Caller: Only 25% want Obama’s comprehensive immigration reform, Survey Shows:
Two more polls released Thursday show continuing weak public support for President Barack Obama’s top-priority policy of increased immigration. A Gallup survey showed the number of Americans who want increased immigration is only 25 percent. Another survey from Quinnipiac showed half of Americans opposing the immigration plan.
The Gallup survey of 4,373 adults also reported that 35 percent of Americans want reduced immigration, and 40 percent want immigration to stay level, said the poll, released July 11. Only 35 percent of independents support his immigration policies, said the poll. The Senate-passed immigration bill would roughly double annual immigration to add 46 million immigrants by 2033, and double the annual inflow of university-trained guest workers to more than 500,000 a year.

July 10: Roll Call: House Won’t Pursue A Comprehensive Immigration Bill
House Republicans emerged from their hotly anticipated closed-door meeting on immigration Wednesday united against the Senate-passed bill, but no closer to an agreement on their own policies to address the controversial issue. However, House GOP leaders released a joint statement declaring that the chamber would move forward on immigration in a piecemeal fashion, rather than attempting the comprehensive approach taken by the Senate. “[We] affirmed that rather than take up the flawed legislation rushed through the Senate, House committees will continue their work on a step-by-step, common-sense approach to fixing what has long been a broken system,” GOP leaders said in a joint statement released on Wednesday evening. But upon exiting the nearly two-hour meeting, lawmakers said they were no closer to setting a timetable for action, formulating a strategy or building consensus on how to deal with a pathway to citizenship for the nation’s roughly 11-14 million undocumented immigrants.

Lawmakers were also intensely wary of how the process might play out in the future, saying they do not trust the White House to enforce any border security measures nor a House-Senate conference. Speaker Boehner, R-OH, sought to allay at least one of those fears by promising that any immigration conference committee would be convened of House Republicans reflective of the will of the chamber.

In addition to doubts about working with the Senate on an immigration measure, Republicans said the White House’s decision last week to delay enforcement of the employer mandate of the health care law had renewed their skepticism that the president would enforce border security and employer-verification provisions championed by Republicans.

July 7: The Hill: McCaul (R-TX): Senate Immigration Bill Threw "Candy" at the Border
House Homeland Security Committee Chair Michael McCaul on Sunday criticized the border security measures in the Senate immigration bill, saying they were ineffective measures designed only to win votes. "In the past all we've done is thrown money down at the problem at an ad hoc basis and it hasn't worked," McCaul said on CBS's "Face the Nation." "What the Senate just passed was, again, a bunch of candy thrown down there —a bunch of assets thrown down there to gain votes, but without a methodical, smart border approach.  McCaul cautioned that the House would press for tougher border enforcement measures. “We want a smart border, we also want a smart immigration plan. Something that makes sense," he added. 

House Republicans are set to discuss immigration reform in a special closed door meeting on Wednesday. McCaul is one of a number of top House lawmakers who have said the House should not adopt the Senate bill and, instead, should work on crafting its own version.  A bipartisan group is working on unveiling a proposal in the House. But immigration reform faces an uphill climb in the GOP-controlled chamber with Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) vowing not to push any measure that lacks the majority support of his conference. McCaul suggested President Obama might secretly be hoping that the House fails to pass an immigration bill to gain politically."My concern is that the political backdrop could be that the White House would like to see this fail in the House so that he could blame the House of Representatives for that and then try to take back the House of Representatives and then all bets are off on his agenda," McCaul said.

July 5: Politico: The House may start working on Immigration Reform Soon:
The Republican-led House could start working on immigration bills focused on border security on the floor in July, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) said in a memo to colleagues sent Friday.  “The House may begin consideration of the border security measures that have been passed by the Homeland Security and Judiciary Committees and begin reviewing other immigration proposals,” Cantor wrote to fellow House Republicans.  The missive from Cantor is among the first official indications that an immigration reform measure could come to the House floor this month. The Senate passed its comprehensive bill June 27, and the focus now turns to the House.

Much of how the House moves forward on immigration reform will depend on the feedback that leadership gets from a conference-wide meeting this Wednesday — which Cantor alluded to in his memo.  “I look forward to our special conference on July 10th on how to fix … our broken immigration system,” Cantor wrote.  The House Homeland Security Committee unanimously cleared a border-security bill in May. The Judiciary Committee, which has taken a bulk of the immigration measures, passed a bill that, among other provisions, would allow state and local authorities to enforce federal immigration law.

July 3: The Hill: CBO says: deficit savings in Senate immigration bill will take a $39 billion hit:
Increased border-security measures in the Senate's immigration reform legislation have lowered the bill's deficit reduction benefits by $39 billion, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday.  The CBO issued a new deficit score for the Senate-passed immigration bill that says the legislation will cut the deficit by $158 billion over the 2014-2023 period.  But that is $39 billion less than the $197 billion in deficit reduction for the original bill reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The difference is due to amendments that beef up efforts to secure the border.  Both versions of the bill would eventually legalize an estimated 8 million illegal immigrants and critics argue this rewards law-breaking while hurting wages of workers here legally.  

June 30: PoliticoNo Congressional Recess for TEA Party on Immigration:
The TEA Party has a message for Republican senators who voted Thursday for the immigration bill and congressmen who might: Welcome home. Activists are promising to spend the congressional recess reminding lawmakers who support the Gang of Eight legislation what the base is capable of.  “The anger is more intense now than it was in 2010,” said Judson Phillips, founder of TEA Party Nation. “They are more upset about the amnesty bill than they were about Obamacare.”  But conservatives aren’t united against immigration reform the same way they opposed Obamacare. Some TEA party and GOP-affiliated groups including Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform, American Conservative Union and Faith and Freedom Coalition have expressed support for the Senate’s bill, while acknowledging that the House will have to make some changes. Another group, TheTeaParty.Net, is supporting efforts toward immigration reform, but not the Senate bill, based on concerns of whether how border security provisions will be enforced.

Still, the majority of conservative groups are looking to replicate protests of previous years driven by Obamacare, the 2008 financial bailout, the stimulus bill, cap-and-trade bill and other Obama administration policies, which propelled the Republican House takeover in 2010. But after seeing President Barack Obama win re-election last year and GOP senators negotiate with Democrats, part of what’s driving the tea party is disappointment with the result of their electoral efforts and disenchantment with the Washington crowd.

June 30: The Daily Caller: Immigration Battle for Hispanic Voters is demeaning and misguided:
Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA) weighs in on the immigration bill and the political wrangling to capture the Hispanic vote in an exclusive interview to be broadcast this week in The Daily Caller. The Pennsylvania Republican argues that posturing over the Latin vote is “misguided” and ”demeaning” to Hispanics. “What’s going on when Democrats and Republicans talk about immigration really is this battle over the Hispanic population now that is growing here in America and trying to win them over for future elections,” Barletta told The Daily Caller. ”That is so misguided and also demeaning to the Latino population, to believe that that is more important to people who are here than a good job, a good education, a better life.” 

June 30: Fox News: House leaders vow to overhaul the Senate Immigration Bill despite pressure from Dems:
House Republicans insisted Sunday that they plan to change key elements of the Senate-passed immigration bill, signaling a protracted and rocky battle ahead despite one Democrat's pronouncement that in the end the House will cave and pass the Senate bill anyway.  Republican Rep. Bob Goodlatte, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee who is playing a major role in the chamber's consideration of immigration policy, on Sunday addressed what is perhaps at the heart of the impasse.  He said the House, which is drafting its own plan, cannot agree to a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. Rather, he wants a "pathway to legalization" -- in other words, allow some illegal immigrants a shot at a green card, but not full-fledged citizenship. 

The pathway to citizenship, though, is a cornerstone of the Senate-passed bill, and any Democrat-backed plan. Increased border security, better enforcement of businesses and an expansion of the legal immigration system make up the rest of the bill.  Putting the issue in stark terms, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told "Fox News Sunday" that if Republicans strip the pathway to citizenship, "no Democrat" would support it.  The confrontation over the pathway to citizenship and other planks of the bill could continue to frustrate lawmakers on both sides, and in both chambers, as they try to sustain the momentum from this past week's Senate vote. 

June 28: The Hill: Speaker Boehner faces Democrat pressure as Immigration Bill moves to the House:
Washington Democrats are planning a full-court press on John Boehner (R-OH) now that immigration reform is squarely in the Speaker's court. The Senate's passage of a comprehensive immigration reform bill Thursday has sent the package to the House and left Boehner facing tough choices about his next steps in the face of a sharply divided GOP conference – steps he has yet to announce. Apparently the Speaker will be rejecting the proposal by Congressman Stockman (R-TX) that he “Blue Slip” the Senate bill and send it back to the Senate. It's by no means clear that an immigration bill will reach President Obama's desk, but Democrats hope they can build pressure on Boehner over the summer and fall.  "Mr. Boehner, you are on the clock," Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) said following the Senate vote.

June 28: The Hill: GOP lawmaker warns total border security is an impossible goal:
A House Republican negotiating a comprehensive immigration reform deal warned Friday that full border security is impossible. Rep. John Carter (R-TX) said the Southern border is simply too wild for law enforcers to plug all the gaps in the fight against illegal immigration.  “Anybody that thinks you can totally secure the Southern border has never been to the Southern border,” Carter said. “I've been down there all my life, and I'm telling you, you can have a 40-foot wall and put machine guns on it, and you can't secure the Southern border. There's too much wild country.  “North of Del Rio to the Big Bend is as wild and rugged a country as there is in the United States,” he added, “and it's all owned by private individuals.”  Carter's comments are a rebuke to conservatives in both chambers demanding that the border be essentially airtight before other provisions of immigration reform – notably the legalization of those living in the country illegally – kick in. 

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) had offered an amendment to the upper chamber's immigration bill that would have required 100 percent border surveillance and a 90 percent apprehension rate of illegal entrants along the Southern border before granting permanent legal status to millions of immigrants already living in the country.  The package that passed the Senate on Thursday includes those measures as goals, but does not require the Department of Homeland Security to meet them before granting residency benefits.

Letter from Congressman Stockman to Speaker of the House on Immigration ReformJune 28: Congressman Steve Stockman: Mr. Speaker "Blue Slip" this bill!
The U.S. Constitution requires that all revenue measures originate in the U.S. House of Representatives. When a measure that originates in the Senate and also contains tax or revenue measures the House has the option of "Blue Slipping" it and sending it back to the Senate without being considered.

Yesterday, Congressman Steve Stockman (R-TX) sent a letter to Speaker Boehner asking him to "Blue Slip" the Senate Immigration bill when it is received, doing so based upon Section 2102 of the bill and the analysis of the Congressional Budget Office (issued June 18th).

Time will tell what action the Speaker will take in response to this reasonable request from Stockman.

June 27: The Weekly Standard: Sessions says this must never become law:
Senator Jeff Sessions, the chief opponent of the immigration bill, released this statement in response to the Senate passing the law by a vote of 68-32: “Sponsors of this legislation—despite the array of financial, establishment and special interest support—failed to hit their target of 70 votes. The more people learned about the bill the more uneasy they became. Failure to reach 70 votes is significant, and ensures the House has plenty of space to chart an opposite course and reject this fatally flawed proposal. So while the bill passed the Senate, this is just the beginning. The legislation adopted today guarantees three things: immediate amnesty before security, permanent future illegal immigration, and a record surge in legal immigration that will reduce wages and increase unemployment."

Sessions continued, "There will be no border fence, no border surge, nothing but the same tired illusory promises of future enforcement that will never occur. Americans have begged and pleaded time and again for Congress to end the lawlessness. But this amnesty-first bill is a surrender to lawlessness. As ICE and USCIS officers have warned, it will decimate immigration enforcement and erode the constitutional rule of law upon which our national greatness depends. And it remains unfair to the legal immigrants who put enormous time and expense into following the rules our nation has established."

June 27: National Review: Senate Bill Will Never Pass the House:
Perhaps the one thing that’s certain about the House of Representatives and immigration is that the bill that just passed the Senate could never, ever pass the House. Indeed, it’s difficult to overstate how little regard Republicans there have for it, even with the border-security amendment added by Senators Corker and Hoeven.
- “Just like all the senators, I haven’t read it yet,” quips Representative Tim Huelskamp of Kansas.
- The House should “fold it up into a paper airplane and throw it out the window. Oh, is that not the right answer?” jokes Representative Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina.
- “The Senate is, at this point, irrelevant,” observes Representative Ted Poe of Texas, the chairman of the House immigration caucus.
- “If you think that the House is going to cave and bring up the Senate bill,” Representative Devin Nunes of California says, “that is idiotic. Anyone who pushes that is just ultimately trying to kill immigration reform.”- Do we still have a bicameral government?” wonders Representative Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, the chairman of the immigration subcommittee. “You’re a smart guy. Let’s walk through this together. We do not have a unicameral system of government. We can assume the framers did that on purpose. And we can assume they did it for a reason. What do you think the reason is?” Gowdy asks.
- You might think Corker-Hoeven, with its billions of dollars to bolster border security, would be receiving a warm welcome in the House. You would be wrong. “The Corker-Hoeven amendment is terrible,” says Representative John Fleming, a top immigration hawk.
- Representative Michael Grimm, who represents a purple Staten Island district in New York, pans it, too. “There’s no triggers,” he says.
- “More work on the border is good but it doesn’t solve all the problems with that bill,” says House Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia.

June 26: Reuters.com:  Can Ryan sell immigration/amnesty to Conservative House Members?
Paul Ryan, the Republican congressman and former vice-presidential candidate best known for his war on spending, is emerging as his party's leading champion of immigration reform in the U.S. House of Representatives. But some are saying even considering immigration reform in the House is a trap.  They cite the concern, that once a bill gets into a conference committee the House would be at a disadvantage. With Senate passage of a sweeping immigration bill imminent, Ryan has been meeting with House conservatives to persuade them that reform of the immigration system, including a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, is an economic necessity and critical to fixing the nation's fiscal problems.  Ryan, a potential 2016 presidential contender, sees himself as a "bridge builder" between immigration advocacy groups and reluctant Republicans, he said in an interview with Reuters. He argues that the immigration system is broken and must be overhauled. "It doesn't work for national security. It doesn't work for economic security," Ryan said.

June 25: The Washington Examiner: Immigration reform faces much tougher path in the House
If Senate Democrats assumed that getting 70 votes to advance an immigration-reform package would pressure House Republicans to vote on the Gang of Eight bill, they're going to be disappointed. Knowledgeable Republican sources believe it's still possible for the GOP House and Democratic Senate to land in a conference committee negotiating a final immigration bill but getting there is probably going to require Senate Democrats and the White House to accept the politics of immigration reform from the House Republicans and what it would take for Speaker John Boehner to move such a bill.  "What they need to understand is that border security is the No. 1 issue," House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions, R-Texas, said Tuesday during a brief interview. "The American people have to have confidence in what we do. Confidence means that we secure our border to make sure we're protected most of all."

Despite years of negotiations toward a comprehensive bill by a bipartisan House working-group, don't expect the House to send to any conference committee the kind of vast rewrite of U.S. immigration law like the Senate's. House Republicans, in their safely gerrymandered districts, are hardly feeling heat from constituents to act. Immigration reform isn't high on the list of priorities for Republican primary voters or voters overall. However, that doesn't mean House Republicans aren't interested in immigration reform. An important caveat is that any bill must have the support of a majority of House Republicans. This element is considered crucial by a range of GOP sources, whatever their disagreements on how the immigration debate might play out.

In looking at the Senate bill, the House would demand stronger triggers than were included in the Corker-Hoeven amendment to ensure that border security goes hand-in-hand with legalization and citizenship, sources say. "To pass and become law, it has to be something that congressmen would see as an asset to them if they had a tough primary race," a well-connected Republican consultant said.  Hopefully, the House would also cut out most of the “pork” contained in the Senate bill, “pork” that some say was used to gain support from Senators who were sitting on the fence.

June 25: The Weekly Standard:
Five Senators who supported the Immigration Bill don’t know answers to Key Question About it:
Obamacare poses a tricky problem for supporters of the Senate's comprehensive immigration reform bill. It would be too politically toxic to give illegal immigrants amnesty and taxpayer subsidies under Obamacare, so the Senate bill prohibits "registered provisional immigrants" (individuals who are now residing illegally in the United States and who would be granted legal status under the bill) from receiving Obamacare subsidies. But in so doing the Senate's immigration bill would also create a big financial incentive for some employers to hire non-citizens who are granted legal status over American citizens. But under Obamacare, businesses with over 50 workers that employ American citizens without offering them qualifying health insurance could be subject to fines of up to $3,000 per worker. But because newly legalized immigrants wouldn’t be eligible for subsidies on the Obamacare exchanges until after they become citizens – at least 13 years under the Senate bill – businesses could avoid such fines by hiring the new immigrants instead.

On Tuesday afternoon, The Weekly Standard asked five different U.S. Senators about this problem. These five senators, all Democrats who voted to cut off debate Monday night on the revised immigration bill, were asked about this problem but none of them knew if the bill would create a financial incentive for some employers to hire amnestied immigrants instead of American citizens. "We're trying to solve that right now. I don't know if that's been solved," Chief author of Obamacare, Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) told the Weekly Standard.  [See related story reported June 24th, below]

http://wordpress.washingtonexaminer.com/beltway-confidential/files/2013/06/FAIRchart.pngJune 24: The Washington Examiner:
Illegal immigrants who commit crimes face lesser punishment than U.S. citizens:

According to Sen. John McCain, a member of the Senate’s Gang of Eight, criminals will not be legalized under the proposed bipartisan immigration bill.  “Anyone who has committed crimes in this country is going to be deported,” the Arizona Republican declared on the Senate floor last week. However, as Washington Examiner columnist Byron York recently reported, “the bottom line is an immigrant could have more than three misdemeanor convictions in his background check and still qualify for legalization.” 

Furthermore, the chart (left) published June 21 by the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a nonprofit organization that opposes liberalization of immigration law, compares the consequences for an array of crimes and discovered that while illegal immigrants might be exonerated and legalized, U.S. citizens and legal immigrants face years of incarceration or temporary expulsion from the country.

The Gang of Eight’s bill would allow illegal immigrants who entered the country before Dec. 31, 2011, and committed up to three misdemeanor offenses including but not limited to assault, battery, identity or document fraud, tax evasion, to remain eligible for Registered Provisional Status. Meanwhile, U.S. citizens and persons who entered the country legally could incur up to $100,000 in fines,15 years of imprisonment, or be prohibited to reenter the country for up to 10 years.  “What it [the Gang of Eight bill] indicates is this is more than just an amnesty, it’s an amnesty for all kinds of violations,” said FAIR’s media director, Ira Mehlman. “We say nobody is above the law, but apparently illegal immigrants are.”


June 24: Breitbart.com: Senate Bill incentivizes employers to fire Americans and hire amnestied immigrants:
Under the Gang of 8’s backroom immigration deal with Senators Schumer, Corker and Hoeven, formerly illegal immigrants who are amnestied will be eligible to work, but will not be eligible for ObamaCare. Employers who would be required to pay as much as a $3,000 penalty for most employees who receive an ObamaCare healthcare “exchange” subsidy, would not have to pay the penalty if they hire amnestied immigrants.  Consequently, employers would have a significant incentive to hire or retain amnestied immigrants, rather than current citizens, including those who have recently achieved citizenship via the current naturalization process. The issue is really an “interaction effect” of the immigration proposal and ObamaCare itself.

Beginning in January, businesses with 50 or more full-time employees, that do not currently offer healthcare benefits that are considered “acceptable” by the Obama administration, must pay a penalty if at least one of their workers obtains insurance on a new government-run “exchange.” The penalty can be as much as $3,000 per employee.  Many employers have been preparing to cope with the new regulations by slashing the hours of full-timers to part-time status.  Since “full-time,” in the language of ObamaCare, is averaging 30 hours per week, employers will, in general, receive the penalty if they have 50 or more employees who are working an average of 30 hours per week.

If the immigration bill becomes law, many employers could receive incentives of hundreds of thousands of dollars to hire amnestied immigrants over American citizens. In addition, these newly legalized immigrants could work “full-time,” an advantage for companies and businesses as well, while employers could lay off or diminish to “part-time” status, American workers.  Philip Klein of the Washington Examiner explains that he spoke with Alex Conant of Sen. Rubio’s staff in April about the wrinkle, and was told that this was an issue that could be addressed during the legislative process.
“[T]he scenario you raise illustrates both the absurdity of ObamaCare, and why we have insisted on a lengthy process to review this legislation before any votes are taken,” Conant emailed Klein. “We always expected there might be a need for amendments to fix technical problems, and we’ll be interested in seeing what sort of amendments might be offered to improve this part of the legislation without giving ObamaCare to illegals- something Sen. Rubio has always said he will not support.” However, as Klein said a couple of weeks ago, the issue has not been addressed and, in fact, the Schumer-Corker-Hoeven deal carries out what appears to be a major complication for American workers. Klein said that Conant did not respond to further requests for comment on this issue.

June 24: Breitbard.com: Palin: Holes in the Border Bill:
"Just like they did with Obamacare, some in Congress intend to “Pelosi” the amnesty bill. They’ll pass it in order to find out what’s in it. And just like the unpopular, unaffordable Obamacare disaster, this pandering, rewarding-the-rule-breakers, still-no-border-security, special-interests-ridden, 24-lb disaster of a bill is not supported by informed Americans," Sarah Palin said recently. "I am an ardent supporter of legal immigration," she continued. "I’m proud that our country is so desirable that it has been a melting pot making a diverse people united as the most exceptional nation on earth for over two centuries. But I join every American with an ounce of common sense insisting that any discussion about immigration must center on a secure border. The amnesty bill before the Senate is completely toothless on border security." 

June 24: U.S. Senate: By a vote of 67 to 27 this evening the Senate voted to invoke cloture and thereby limiting the time available to debate the Immigration Reform bill. This clears a major hurdle for consideration and a final vote on the bill in the Senate.

June 24: Breitbart.com: Senate Bill incentivizes employers to fire Americans and hire amnestied immigrants:
Under the Gang of 8’s backroom immigration deal with Senators Schumer, Corker and Hoeven, formerly illegal immigrants who are amnestied will be eligible to work, but will not be eligible for ObamaCare. Employers who would be required to pay as much as a $3,000 penalty for most employees who receive an ObamaCare healthcare “exchange” subsidy, would not have to pay the penalty if they hire amnestied immigrants.  Consequently, employers would have a significant incentive to hire or retain amnestied immigrants, rather than current citizens, including those who have recently achieved citizenship via the current naturalization process. The issue is really an “interaction effect” of the immigration proposal and ObamaCare itself. Beginning in January, businesses with 50 or more full-time employees, that do not currently offer healthcare benefits that are considered “acceptable” by the Obama administration, must pay a penalty if at least one of their workers obtains insurance on a new government-run “exchange.” The penalty can be as much as $3,000 per employee.  Many employers have been preparing to cope with the new regulations by slashing the hours of full-timers to part-time status.  Since “full-time,” in the language of ObamaCare, is averaging 30 hours per week, employers will, in general, receive the penalty if they have 50 or more employees who are working an average of 30 hours per week.

If the immigration bill becomes law, many employers could receive incentives of hundreds of thousands of dollars to hire amnestied immigrants over American citizens. In addition, these newly legalized immigrants could work “full-time,” an advantage for companies and businesses as well, while employers could lay off or diminish to “part-time” status, American workers.  Philip Klein of the Washington Examiner explains that he spoke with Alex Conant of Sen. Rubio’s staff in April about the wrinkle, and was told that this was an issue that could be addressed during the legislative process.

“[T]he scenario you raise illustrates both the absurdity of ObamaCare, and why we have insisted on a lengthy process to review this legislation before any votes are taken,” Conant emailed Klein. “We always expected there might be a need for amendments to fix technical problems, and we’ll be interested in seeing what sort of amendments might be offered to improve this part of the legislation without giving ObamaCare to illegals- something Sen. Rubio has always said he will not support.” However, as Klein said a couple of weeks ago, the issue has not been addressed and, in fact, the Schumer-Corker-Hoeven deal carries out what appears to be a major complication for American workers. Klein said that Conant did not respond to further requests for comment on this issue.

June 24: Breitbard.com: Palin: Holes in the Border Bill:
Just like they did with Obamacare, some in Congress intend to “Pelosi” the amnesty bill. They’ll pass it in order to find out what’s in it. And just like the unpopular, unaffordable Obamacare disaster, this pandering, rewarding-the-rule-breakers, still-no-border-security, special-interests-ridden, 24-lb disaster of a bill is not supported by informed Americans.

I am an ardent supporter of legal immigration. I’m proud that our country is so desirable that it has been a melting pot making a diverse people united as the most exceptional nation on earth for over two centuries. But I join every American with an ounce of common sense insisting that any discussion about immigration must center on a secure border. The amnesty bill before the Senate is completely toothless on border security. 

It's beyond disingenuous for anyone to claim that a vote for this bill is a vote for security. Look no further than the fact that Senator Rubio and amnesty supporters nixed Senator Thune’s amendment that required the feds to finally build part of a needed security fence before moving forward on the status of illegal immigrants who’ve already broken the law to be here. And if shooting down the border fence wasn't proof enough, they blew another chance by killing Senator Paul’s “Trust But Verify” amendment which required the completion of a fence in five years and required Congress to vote on whether the border is actually secure before furthering any immigration measures. And then they blew it yet again, nixing Senator Cornyn’s “Results” amendment, which also required border enforcement standards. Now the Senate’s pro-amnesty crowd is offering a fig leaf to security via the Corker-Hoeven Amendment, but this is really nothing more than empty promises. It’s amnesty right now and border security… eh, well, someday.

June 24: The Daily Caller: Rubio Mislead Law Enforcement, ICE Union Leader Says, Vote No!
In advance of a critical vote Monday on a border security deal offered by Republican Sens. Bob Coker and John Hoeven, the president of the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement union urged senators to vote ‘no’ on the amendment. National ICE Council President Chris Crane issued an aggressive statement calling on lawmakers to vote “no” on the amendment to the Senate’s immigration reform bill and called out Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio for misleading law enforcement on promises of more interior enforcement.

“Senator Corker — a lead sponsor of the 1,200 page amendment being voted on today — has admitted that needed interior enforcement provisions are absent. Senator Rubio, who promised ICE officers and Sheriffs that he would take steps to repair the bill’s provisions that gut interior enforcement, has abandoned that commitment,” Crane said. “He directly misled law enforcement officers.”

On Thursday, Corker said that he had wanted to add more interior enforcement but was unable to, Politico reported, speculating that objections from Democratic senators and the White House might have prevented it. “I do wish this amendment had some other measures relative to interior security, but I think the House can improve this,” Politico quoted Corker. “I think a conference can improve this. So I hope we have the opportunity down the road to see that occur.” According to Crane, Rubio admitted to law enforcement in private the legislation was flawed but did nothing to change it.

June 24: Politico: Senate Immigration Bill: Some Questions
The Senate is on the verge of approving historic legislation that would overhaul the nation’s immigration laws — and perhaps show that it isn’t so dysfunctional after all. The first test will be a procedural vote this evening on an agreement written by Republican Sens. Corker (R-TN) and Hoeven (R-ND) supposedly implements a border surge of agents, technology and fencing along the US-Mexico boundary. But before the chamber approves the landmark legislation, several questions remain — including whether the Senate will wait out a key decision from the Supreme Court on gay marriages because one proposal would allow the "partners" of homosexual U.S. citizens to be granted citizenship. Although there may be support to pass the bill in the Senate the chance for passage in the House is far less likely. Here are some of the key issues:

1. How many Republicans will support the bill? Will the bill garner enough votes to put it over the 70% mark in the Senate? If all 54 Senate Democrats and independents, Republican members of the Gang of Eight and the GOP co-sponsors of the Corker-Hoeven proposal ultimately support the Gang’s bill, there are now 66 “yes” votes. The hope of Senate supporters is that there will be enough support so that the House would be pressured to bring the measure up.

2. What to do about Leahy? Not yet decided is will homosexual partners be covered? It is still unclear whether Senator Leahy's (D-VT) amendment that would allow homosexual U.S. citizens to sponsor foreign partners for green card will actually get a vote. Odds are that it will fall short of the 60 vote filibuster-proof threshold needed to approve it. Democrats are looking to the U.S. Supreme Court decision on the California "Gay Marriage" case for assistance in getting this provision adopted.

3. Has the bill become too bloated? This legislation is like Obamacare and if the Corker-Hoeven proposal is approved it gives credence to this argument. The bill is already over 1,150 pages. Most Senators will barely have enough time to read the bill before the vote, if they read it at all. Opponents claim the bill has a lot of "pork" in it.

4. How far can reform advocates be pushed? Some immigration groups have indicated that they can live with the so-called border surge that was key to luring Republicans without tampering with the heart of the bill: a pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants living illegally in the United States. But some of the major advocacy organizations are reluctantly supporting the Corker-Hoeven plan and it’s unclear whether these groups will sway any votes. But it’s a clear signal that for some, they’ve already had enough.

5. Will the House break under pressure? Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has made it repeatedly clear: The House will have its own strategy on immigration — and that doesn’t include just taking up the Senate bill and passing it. The House Judiciary Committee has moved targeted bills on immigration reform which are opposed by Democrats. It is unclear whether there are enough votes in the House for passage of the Senate's sweeping and complex bill.

Oh, and one other thing, are there some Senate Republicans who believe that this bill will go nowhere in the House and so they are supporting it? If so, this could prove to be a dangerous decision. [See related story and quote of Senator Ted Cruz]

June 23: Fox News: Cruz calls Immigration Bill a mess (Video)
Senator Cruz (R-TX) said "In 1986 we granted amnesty to three million illegal aliens and promised to secure the border. The border was never secured." This time we are trying the same thing. Unless we secure the border first, it will never happen, Cruz said.

June 23: Politico: Paul opposes the current immigration bill
Sen. Rand Paul outlined his opposition to immigration reform legislation on Sunday, saying it doesn't sufficiently prioritize border security. "I'm all in favor of immigration reform but I'm like most conservatives in the country, that I think reform should be dependent on border security first," the Kentucky Republican said on CNN's "State of the Union." "So I introduced an amendment that would have done just that, border security first and then immigration reform with congressional checks on whether that’s occurring. That wasn’t voted on favorably and so, without some congressional authority, without border security first, I can't support the final bill."
He remains opposed despite a Senate proposal, known as a "border surge" bill that would pour significant resources into defending the border.

"We've thrown a lot of money at a lot of problems in our country," Paul said. "To me what  really tells me that they're serious would be letting Congress vote on whether the border is secure."
He added that while immigration reform will likely pass the Senate, it looks to be "dead on arrival" in the House. The House is much closer to me, and I think they think border security has to come first, before you get immigration reform," he said.

June 23: The Daily Caller: Sessions says the “border surge amendment” is 1986 all over again:
The near-final version of the immigration bill doesn’t require President Barack Obama to implement any of the much-touted “border surge” that bridged a partisan divide last week, according to a review of the bill by staff working for Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions. The 1,187-page bill will face a critical “cloture vote” on Monday at 5.30 p.m., three days after the “border surge” amendment was added to the draft bill. If it passed, as expected, the Senate will hold a yes-or-no vote by Thursday.

June 22: Politico: Potential “Border Surge” pitfalls:
The “border surge” plan unveiled on Capitol Hill this week was hailed as a kind of miracle cure for the political ills plaguing the immigration bill the Gang of Eight and President Barack Obama have been tinkering with for months. The amendment from Sens. Bob Corker (R-TN) and John Hoeven (R-ND) does appear to be a kind of political panacea for the broader legislation — at least in the Senate. But there’s no quick fix for the complex security challenges along the U.S. border. And it’s far less clear that this proposal — to expand the current border fence to 700 miles, add nearly 20,000 new Border Patrol agents, and spend billions on high-tech equipment — can actually work. Indeed, the effort is so vast and so ambitious that some doubt it will ever be carried out.

First, it’s so darn expensive: Costing more than $40 billion over 10 years, the “border surge” and fencing proposal is so expensive that it was virtually unthinkable just a week or two ago — until an unexpectedly generous scoring of the broader immigration bill by the Congressional Budget Office left the bill’s backers with a pot of cash (at least in budgeting terms) that could be used to sweeten the deal and get more Republicans on board. But there is no guarantee that future Congresses will follow through with the actual funds needed to get it done. With even a proponent like Corker calling the plan “almost overkill,” it would seem to be a prime target for cutbacks in future years.  In addition, the administration struggled to meet its hiring goals in recent years and it will be a difficult task to add another 19,200 to the force’s ranks without including corrupt, incompetent or under-trained officers.

June 22: Politico: Conservatives urge Mitch McConnell to put brakes on immigration:
A group dedicated to electing more conservatives to the Senate is asking Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to use his influence to put the brakes on the immigration bill. The Senate Conservatives Fund, once affiliated with former Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, is accusing McConnell of “quietly allowing” the Gang of Eight bill to move through the upper chamber. In an email to supporters, the fund’s executive director Matt Hoskins urged the Kentucky Republican not only to oppose the bill, but also to rally his entire caucus in opposition. “A simple ‘No’ vote is not enough from a leader. We’re asking Senator McConnell to use his position as the Republican Leader to defeat it,” Hoskins wrote on Saturday morning.

Hoskins also said the Senate Conservatives Fund will launch an advertising campaign beginning Monday on television and radio directed at McConnell. McConnell is up for reelection in 2014 and has already been hit with TV ad blitzes from the left and right. Like most members of the Senate Republican Conference, McConnell has not indicated how he will vote on the final bill or its new border security title negotiated by Sens. Hoeven (R-ND) and Corker (R-TN) and the Gang of Eight. However, he has said the underlying Gang of Eight bill has “serious flaws.”  McConnell has been openly skeptical about Corker-Hoeven deal that will add 20,000 more border patrol agents to the Southern border, beef up surveillance and add hundreds of miles of fencing as a prerequisite to the pathway to citizenship. A bloc of Senate Republicans, including McConnell, would prefer a hard “trigger” pegged to a specific rate of apprehension of illegal border crossings, rather than just the border surge.  “I don’t think there needs to be a pathway to a Green Card until the metrics have been met. And that’s the dilemma with the Corker amendment,” McConnell told Fox host Sean Hannity on Thursday.

June 22: The Hill: Leahy says border security measures read like a “Christmas wish list for Halliburton”
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has panned a proposal to fast-track billions of dollars in spending on border security as a boondoggle for government contractors.  Leahy said a proposal drafted by Sens. Corker (R-TN) and Hoeven (R-ND) “reads like a Christmas wish list for Halliburton.”   The amendment requires implementation and activation of $4.5 billion in technology and equipment to achieve full surveillance of the U.S.-Mexico border.  “I am sure there are federal contracting firms high-fiving at the prospect of all of the spending demanded by some of our friends on the other side in this amendment,” Leahy said on the Senate floor.  

June 21: The Daily Caller: “Hello! What are you thinking? Proposed amendment to immigration bill would give citizenship to the “Victims of Climate Change!”
Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) filed an amendment to the Senate immigration bill this week that would allow people displaced by climate change to seek conditional legal status. “The amendment I am proposing is quite simple. If enacted, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, may designate individuals or a group of individuals displaced permanently by climate change as stateless persons,” Schatz said.  “Again, let me be clear about what this amendment does. It simply recognizes that climate change, like war, is one of the most significant contributors to homelessness in the world,” he added. “And like with states torn apart and made uninhabitable by war, we have an obligation not to deport people back to a country made uninhabitable by sea level rise and other extreme environmental changes that render these states desolate.”

June 21: The Daily Caller: Senator Sessions Calls Out O’Reily for Misconceptions about the Immigration Bill:
Sessions (R-GA) called Bill O’Reilly of Fox News out Friday morning for his misunderstanding of the timeline, saying that while “Bill O’Reilly’s Talking Points Memo is consistently a high-quality memo” and “very insightful,” O’Reilly demonstrated some of the “misconceptions” people have about the Senate immigration bill. “It’s not sufficient to pass this legislation based on talking points, on spin from the sponsors of the bill. We have to say, ‘okay, does it really do that?’ and ‘How does it do it’ and ‘Can it be made better?’ and ‘Are their weaknesses?’”  Sessions then dissected O’Reilly’s understanding of the 13-year timeline.

“’There would be at least 13 years before people in the country illegally right now could gain full legal working status,’” Sessions quoted O’Reilly. “Not so. Not so at all. Not even close,” Sessions responded to the quote. “Within a few months everyone applies for the [Registered Provisional Immigrant] status, the provisional status, will be given a social security card and the right to go to work and be lawfully in the country and cannot be deported unless they commit a serious crime. It’s virtually immediately, not 13 years.”

June 20: The Hill: Senate Rejects the Cornyn plan for securing the border:
The Senate on Thursday rejected Sen. John Cornyn’s (R-TX) immigration reform bill amendment that would have put mandatory border security triggers in place  before immigrants were given legal status. The Senate voted 54-43 to table the amendment, which was seen as crucial to get  more Republican support for the legislation. But Sens. John Hoeven (R-ND) and  Bob Corker (R-TN) are expected to release an alternative border security  enforcement amendment later today.

Cornyn’s "Results" amendment would have required that the border enforcement  standards in the underlying Gang of Eight bill be met before anyone could be  granted permanent legal status. “My amendment is designed to turn border security rhetoric into reality. More  specifically it would have a trigger,” Cornyn said ahead of the vote  Thursday. “The difference between my amendment and their bill is that their bill  promises the sun and the moon when it comes to border security but it has no  trigger mechanism.” The Senate bill under consideration sets the goals of 100 percent  border-monitoring capabilities and a 90 percent apprehension rate of illegal  entrants along the Southern border, but does not require the Department of Homeland Security to have them in place before granting permanent legal residency. Cornyn’s amendment would have made those goals mandatory.  “My amendment realigns all of the incentives for people across the political spectrum to make sure that the federal government and bureaucracies keep their commitment,” Cornyn said. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) criticized Cornyn's  amendment for being "unrealistic," and said it would delay the path to  citizenship for years. Of course this begs the question "If ensuring there is real border security in place first is unrealistic, then aren't we really saying that real border security will not happen and we just want to grant citizenship to people who violated our immigration laws?"

June 20: The Hill: Possible compromise on Border Security:
Senate negotiators have reached a tentative deal on a border security  amendment that could bring more Republican support to immigration reform. Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) on Thursday said some details needed to be worked  through but added he thought the deal could be announced. It’s unclear how many more Republicans will support the underlying bill because  of the new language, though Corker offered optimism. “There’s some members on our side that I think this is going to meet their test from the standpoint of border security,” he said in an interview on MSNBC. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) in a separate interview said it would dramatically improve border security.

Corker has been working on the language with Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) and members of the bipartisan Senate group that crafted the immigration bill. It would double the number of border patrol agents from 20,000 to 40,000 and  authorize the construction of 700 miles of new border fencing. The legislation would also include funding for other border security  technologies, including infrared sensors, drones and other high-tech devices,  according to a Senate aide. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and other members had been pushing for even tougher language, however, and it is unclear whether the new language will bring along enough Republicans to win the bill more than 70 votes.

June 19: Politico: Congressional Budget Office “Score” may help GOP Get stronger border security:
Republicans are seizing on the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) projections of future illegal immigration under the Senate Gang of Eight bill as proof senators need to beef up border security language. It its analysis, the CBO said annual illegal immigration numbers would decrease 25 percent upon passage of the bill. Sens. John Hoeven (R-ND) and Bob Corker (R-TN), said Wednesday that number is driving their attempt to negotiate legislation that will beef up the bill’s border security while also not turning off Democrats. “With the underlying bill you have 7 million more illegals in 10 years, versus without it you have 10 million more,” Hoeven said. ”So you’re not doing enough to secure the border.”

Hoeven said the GOP’s negotiating hand has been “strengthened” by the CBO score, “both because we have the money to do it and because of the statistics.” The CBO score also said the bill would decrease the deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars over the next 20 years. “The border was only going to be 25 percent more secure with the bill as it was. So that’s been incredibly helpful to us last night and this morning,” Corker said.

June 19: Politico: Border Security: GOP support on immigration dissipating:
Congressional Republicans, who have been more receptive to immigration reform since last November, now appear increasingly unlikely to widely back the Senate immigration bill unless they can extract significant concessions from Democrats. It all comes down to the battle over border security. Some Senate Republicans are coalescing around a new border security plan as an alternative to Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn’s, demanding acceptance of it as a condition for their support of the overall bill. But top Democrats are balking at initial drafts of their proposal and privately concede there’s little chance the Senate will add even tougher border security language to the bipartisan bill. Failing to win significant GOP support in the Senate could imperil the bill’s chances in the House, where Republicans are already scoffing at the Senate measure. House Speaker John Boehner is vowing to put a bill on the floor only if it can win support from a Republican majority. Rather than advancing a comprehensive bill, as Democrats demand, a House committee began work Tuesday on an enforcement-only measure mainly backed by Republicans.

June 18: The Daily Caller: Speaker will not hold vote on immigration bill without majority of Republican Support:
Speaker of the House John Boehner said Tuesday that he would not bring the immigration reform bill to the floor if a majority of Republicans did not support it.  “I don’t see any way of bringing an immigration bill to the floor that doesn’t have majority support of Republicans,” Boehner told reporters at a press conference, NBC News reported. The practice of only bringing bills to the floor that are supported by a majority of the majority is the known as Hastert Rule, after Speaker Dennis Hastert. Boehner has broken it several times. In the past few days, critics have begun pressing him on the issue and whether he might use it again to push through the  immigration reform bill currently being debated in the Senate.

June 18: The Washington Times: Senate poised to vote on border fence amendment to Immigration bill:
A week into the immigration debate, the Senate has finally set up showdowns Tuesday afternoon on some of the biggest questions, including whether to build the full 700-mile fence Congress approved seven years ago, but never followed through on. Senator Thune (R-SD) has offered an amendment that would require 350 miles of two-tier border fencing be built before illegal immigrants can gain legal status, and for another 350 miles to be built before they can get green cards. Seven years ago, during a previous immigration debate, Congress — including then-Sen. Obama — voted overwhelmingly to build that much two-tier fencing along the 1,950-mile U.S.-Mexico border. In 2007 Congress quietly backed off and gave the Bush Administration the authority to cut the number of miles, and to scrap the two-tier fence. Instead, the border now has 651 miles of barriers, and only 352 miles of that is an actual fence to keep pedestrians out. The other 299 miles are vehicle blockades that still allow wildlife, and people, to cross unhindered. Homeland security officials say they are comfortable with the amount and mix of fencing, but many lawmakers say more is needed — and Thune’s amendment will give them a chance to have a say. Still, it is expected to fail as the Gang of Eight senators who wrote the immigration bill defends the core of its deal, which is to offer quick legal status to illegal immigrants but withhold full citizenship rights until after more money is spent on security. They argue that waiting until 350 miles of full fence is built would delay legalization too long.

Senators wil l also vote Tuesday on three other amendments: One would expand immigration benefits for adoptees, another would add Indian tribe representatives to a border oversight panel, and a third would stop any legalization until the government completes a biometric entry-exit system that Congress first demanded in 1996, but which is still undone.

June 17: The Daily Caller:
Meanwhile Cruz will file an immigration amendment allowing states to require proof of citizenship in order to register to vote:

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz will propose an amendment to the comprehensive immigration reform bill that would allow states to require ID before registering voters, after a Supreme Court announced a decision Monday striking down an Arizona law that required that people show proof of citizenship when registering to vote. “I’ll file amendment to immigration bill that permits states to require ID before registering voters & close this hole in fed statutory law,” Cruz tweeted Monday afternoon.

June 16: The Hill: Six Amendments to watch in the Senate as Immigration Reform is considered:
Senators are girding for a contentious floor fight next week over more than 100 immigration reform amendments that will be crucial to determining whether the chamber approves comprehensive legislation.  The bill’s authors, known as the Gang of Eight, have said they want their legislation to pass with at least 70 votes in order to send a strong message to the House that it should take up and pass the Senate bill. Here are six keys to the coming debate: 

The RESULTS amendment:  Cornyn (R-TX), considered crucial in reaching the 70-vote mark will likely demand that the Senate adopt his “results” amendment that would strengthen border security provisions within the underlying bill.  The bill makes permanent legal residence contingent the Department of Homeland Security having 100 percent situational awareness at every segment of the Southern border and a 90 percent apprehension rate of those illegally crossing. Cornyn’s amendment would require that those standards be met before anyone is given legal status, but Democrats argue that could take years.

Same-sex couples amendment: Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced a same-sex marriage amendment to the immigration reform bill that would give equal protection to immigrants who are in same-sex marriages. His amendment would allow the partner of a U.S. citizen to apply for a green card the same way heterosexual married couples are able to do. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), a leading conservative in the Gang of Eight, has threatened to oppose the Immigration bill if  Leahy’s amendment succeeds.

Rubio’s English language amendment: Rubio has offered an amendment that would require immigrants with provisional legal status, who are 16 or older to read, write and speak English. This would require that immigrants speak English before they’d be eligible to apply for a green card rather than taking the English proficiency test right before gaining citizenship.

‘Trust but Verify’:  Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has introduced a “Trust but Verify” amendment to the immigration reform bill, which would put more power in the hands of Congress rather than relying on DHS to enforce border security measures.  Some Republicans have suggested that the bill gives the DHS too much say over whether the border is secure, leaving Congress powerless to stop the bill’s amnesty program if security measures aren’t met. Paul’s amendment makes immigration reform conditional on Congress voting on whether the border is secure, requires completion of a border fence in five years and includes a protection against the federal government establishing a national identification card system for citizens.

Hatch amendments: Earlier this week, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) warned the Gang of Eight that if his four amendments to the immigration reform bill weren’t included that he wouldn’t support final passage. He said he’s the kind of guy who doesn’t take “stiffing lightly.” Hatch was one of three Republicans who voted for the bill in committee, but he said his support for final passage was contingent on further changes being made to the legislation.  His amendments would ensure people on the pathway to citizenship aren’t granted federal welfare benefits, including ObamaCare, for at least five years after gaining citizenship. He also wants to strengthen language in the bill that calls for immigrants to pay back taxes.

Building a Fence: An amendment from Sen. John Thune (R-SD) would require that the DHS build 350 miles of southern border fencing before the government could grant provisional immigrant status. Another 350 miles of fencing would have to be constructed before those with provisions legal status could apply for a green card. Thune said his amendment was necessary because the current bill only makes “promises” of enforcement. The Gang of Eight bill includes an additional $6.5 billion for border enforcement measures, but most of the funding is for new technology such as drones, sensors, cameras and helicopters, as opposed to more fencing.

June 14: The Hill: House Judiciary to markup immigration bills next week:
The House Judiciary Committee will begin marking up a series of immigration reform bills next week, the chairman announced Friday. The Judiciary panel will attempt to send two proposals to the chamber floor. The first, which is designed to bolster the enforcement of immigration laws in the nation's interior, will be marked up Tuesday; the second, which relates to the guest-worker program catering to the nation's agriculture industry, will follow. The piecemeal approach runs counter to the strategy employed by the Senate, which this week began floor action on a comprehensive immigration reform package.

Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) defended his approrach and criticized the consideration of broad legislation as “standard operating procedure” in Washington. “For far too long, the standard operating procedure in Washington has been to rush large pieces of legislation through Congress with little opportunity for elected officials and the American people to scrutinize and understand them," Goodlatte said Friday in a statement. "Rather than rush a bill just to ‘find out what’s in it,’ the House Judiciary Committee has instead followed the traditional legislative process of regular order so that we do not repeat the mistakes of the past,” he continued. "Immigration reform is too important and complex to not examine each piece in detail.”

June 14: The Hill: Cornyn (R-TX) emerges as key to 70 vote threshold for immigration reform:
Cornyn is the big prize in the quest for more than 70 votes for immigration reform, but the Gang of Eight is split over whether he’s worth wooing. Cornyn told Republican colleagues at a meeting Wednesday that he would consider making changes to his amendment to bolster the border-security provisions of the Senate bill. His willingness to negotiate left some Republicans convinced after the meeting that he would strike a deal with the Gang of Eight and vote for final passage. His support would help the legislation pass overwhelmingly. Republican members on the Gang of Eight think he is a gettable vote, even though they acknowledge some of their Democratic colleagues are skeptical. Democrats strongly doubt Cornyn will vote "yes," given his past record of opposing immigration reform plans.

Cornyn said he’s willing to modify proposal but will not concede on what he calls its "fundamental substance." “There are certain elements that are non-negotiable, specifically the mechanism by which we would guarantee the security measures in the bill would actually be implemented,” he said. The bill’s authors are also negotiating with Sens. Bob Corker (R-TN) and John Hoeven (R-ND), but neither of those lawmakers have the same authority as Cornyn on border security. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) suggested earlier in the week that his vote and the support of other Republicans could be contingent on the fate of Cornyn’s proposals.

June 13: The Daily Caller: Oh Well, Even a Senator can be wrong once in awhile!
On Thursday, Sen. John Thune (R-SD) proposed an amendment to the immigration bill that would require 350 miles of double-layer fencing before any legalization illegal immigrants can begin. That double-layer fencing in his proposal was part of the 700 miles already required by a 2006 law, where only 36 miles have been completed.  But that amendment offered by the chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, the third-highest ranking position in the Senate GOP caucus, had one vociferous opponent in Louisiana Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu.

Immediately after Thune spoke on his amendment on the Senate floor, Landrieu took to the floor, but had a misstep with the facts in speech, particularly with regards to geography. Landrieu attacked the idea of having a fence, saying that people would just tunnel under it.  So far she might have been correct but then she went on to attack the South Dakota Republican on grounds his fence was dumb by comparing his state to Sen. John McCain’s state of Arizona. And she said McCain’s opposition should be a lesson for Thune, since Arizona borders Mexico and South Dakota only shares a border with Canada. (which it does not!)

June 12: Breitbart.com: Reid blocks senate vote on border security amendment to immigration bill:
On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) blocked a vote on the border security amendment to the “Gang of Eight” immigration bill offered by Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA). Grassley was pushing for an up-or-down vote by the Senate on his amendment, which would have required the border to be secured for six full months before any legalization of illegal immigrants in America began. Reid objected to Grassley’s motion, effectively implementing a 60-vote threshold that completely blocked any attempt at a fair vote on the amendment.

Grassley protested Reid’s plan, which the Senate Majority Leader laughed off.  Grassley responded with fury to Reid’s obstruction. “Well, it’s amazing to me that the majority has touted this immigration bill process as one that is open and regular order, but right out of the box, just on the third day, they want to subject our amendments to a filibuster like a 60-vote threshold.  So I have to ask, who is obstructing now?" Grassley said. 

June 11: The Hill: Senate Votes 82-15 in First Step to debate immigration bill:
The Senate voted 82-15 on Tuesday to end debate on a motion to proceed to a comprehensive immigration reform bill. Senators are expected to vote to proceed to the bill, which will launch a weeks-long floor debate on immigration reform. The four Republican members of the Gang of Eight — Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) John McCain (R-AZ) Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) — were joined by more than 20 other GOP senators in voting to advance the debate. That strong support is expected to dwindle if certain amendments aren't agreed to. "As an elected leader in my party, it’s my view that we at least need to try to improve a situation that as far as I can tell very few people believe is working well either for our own citizens, or for those around the world who aspire to become Americans," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said ahead of the vote Tuesday. "I’ll vote to debate it and for the opportunity to amend it, but in the days ahead there will need to be major changes to this bill if it’s going to become law."

June 11: The Daily Caller: Unions want worker protections as part of the Immigration Bill:
AFL-CIO chief Richard Trumka said his deputies will be pushing senators to improve worker-protection measures in the Senate’s draft immigration bill. “Is there every protection I would have liked? No,” he told The Daily Caller after a media event at the White House.  Asked if his union is pushing for more protections, Trumka said, “We are.” How many? “A couple,” said Trumka, who is supporting passage of the controversial bill. Asked by TheDC to describe the sought-for protections, Trumka laughed and said, “No.” Trumka’s push for extra protections may be a problem for the bill’s prospects. In 2006 and 2007, the bills failed amid union opposition to guest-worker programs demanded by business.  The current bill would bring in or legalize roughly 30 million people in the next 10 years, despite the current high jobless rate.

June 11: The Daily Caller:
Buchanan: Government is not protecting us against “invasion” and Why should we reward “law breakers?”

On Tuesday’s broadcast of Laura Ingraham’s radio show, conservative columnist Pat Buchanan gave Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio some advice on how to handle his “Gang of Eight” colleagues. He said Rubio should point out that the federal government has failed to protect the border “against an invasion” of “illegal people.”  “You know what Marco Rubio should say to them?” Buchanan said. “‘Look, we don’t believe in amnesty. We believe it’s rewarding illegal law breaking. It’s rewarding people who broke into our country and broke in line and who are here illegally. As for securing the border, that is not an option for you folks. That’s is an obligation, that is a duty of the president of the United States — to defend America’s borders against an invasion. And if you yourselves say there are 12 million illegal people here, that’s an invasion.’”

June 11: The HillRubio would require immigrants to speak English before receiving legal residency:
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) will offer an amendment to the Senate immigration reform bill strengthening the requirement that immigrants be able to speak English before they can get legal residency. Rubio says his amendment would eliminate a loophole in the legislation that undermines the English language requirement.  Current law only requires English proficiency for citizenship. “On the day we announced the principles that would shape the immigration bill, we made it clear that English proficiency would now be required for permanent residency for the first time in American history,” Rubio said in a statement. “This amendment ensures that will be the case.” Rubio’s amendment would strike language in the pending bill allowing the English proficiency requirement to be met simply by signing up for a language course. Critics of the legislation have panned it for not doing enough to require millions of illegal immigrants to learn English as a condition for obtaining permanent legal residency.