Illinois Senator Dick Durbin said on Fox News Sunday that the bipartisan immigration reform package nearing completion in the Senate will contain a “path to citizenship” for illegal aliens already here.
Top Senate Democrats and Republicans said Sunday the bipartisan legislation on immigration reform to be announced this week will include a one-step, comprehensive bill that includes a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million people living illegally in the United States.
“We are committed to a comprehensive approach to immigration that we can live with,” Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin told “Fox News Sunday.”
Durbin is part of the six-member, bipartisan Senate group working on the legislation.
Citizenship has been a sticking point in previous efforts, particularly among Capitol Hill Republicans. However, they appear willing to accept the path to citizenship, in part, so long as the legislation also includes tighter border security.
Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker told Fox he is optimistic but “details matter.”
“We’re at the talking points stage,” he said. “We need to get to the legislation.”
Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, also part of the group, said members will release the guiding principles of the legislation this week, but more work is need on the legislation.
“I’m quietly optimistic we can get it done,” he told ABC’s “This Week.”
McCain, a key player in the 2007 effort on immigration reform, also acknowledged that President Obama’s overwhelming support among Hispanics in the November elections was a wakeup call to Republicans that they need to do more to reach out to that growing part of the population.
The group has been working since the November elections on the legislation and is expected to have a complete bill by March or April.
Meanwhile, the president is scheduled to go to Las Vegas on Tuesday to talk about fixing “the broken immigration system this year,” according to the administration.
The two most dangerous words in a republic are “comprehensive reform.” There is always, and ever will be, a problem with unintended consequences whenever Congress gets it in its head to pass “comprehensive” anything.
One might think because we have a massive problem with border security that has resulted in untold millions being in the U.S. illegally that only a comprehensive approach to the issue will work — big problem = big legislation.
Wrong. Precisely because it is a big problem, the issue cries out for an incremental approach. A good start would be a stand-alone bill on border security. Fix the borders first, then think about what to do with those who are already here.
Next, decide what critical immigration issues are facing us. Separation of families? DREAM Act? Guest worker program? Visa and green card reform? Instead of stuffing all these critical issues into one omnibus bill that will likely be nearly incomprehensible — and have unforeseen consequences that may make the problem worse — Congress should deal with the matter by prioritizing what needs to be done first, legislating intelligently to address the issue, and prudently moving on in due time to the next bill.
Is there a race to do everything at once? Why the rush? We’ve already made one gigantic error in passing “comprehensive” health insurance reform and we haven’t even figured out how much that has screwed up our health care system. Now we want to apply the same award-winning thinking to immigration?
As for a “path to citizenship” for illegals, anything that mimics the 2007 effort where we ask illegals to go home and get in line to come here legally is absurd. If there are 10 million illegals in the U.S. — and that is probably lowballing it — do we really expect a significant number of those who’ve been here for years to pull up stakes and go back to Mexico or wherever and wait a few years before returning all nice and legal? This is delusional.
Also, any effort by Congress won’t be very “comprehensive” because no effective means that will address this problem ever takes into account that there are two sides to the border. Illegal immigration has much to do with foreign countries deliberately encouraging the migration of their citizens to the U.S. — largely due to the remittances that workers send back home. We should insist that our neighbors stop thinking of the U.S. as a safety valve for their growing populations who are unable to find decent employment and help them keep their people home by urging economic reforms that will create wealth and jobs. We have some leverage and we should use it to get hemispheric cooperation in dealing with the problem.
The GOP may have an Hispanic problem but that doesn’t mean we should run off half-cocked and support flawed legislation that might please a particular interest group, but in the end, fails to adequately address the issues. House Republicans may or may not go for the “path to citizenship” for illegals. But they should think twice about supporting “comprehensive reform” — especially when that “reform” might actually make the situation worse.