A few words about that landmark immigration bill

Yesterday, Bryan complained that I didn’t put the IRS official taking the Fifth on my Virtual Front Page. I explained that that had been big news the night before, not on Wednesday.

Which reminds me… There’s something else that sort of fell between the cracks — the Senate Judiciary Committee’s passage Tuesday night of the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill:

A Senate committee approved a sweeping immigration reform bill Tuesday that would provide a path to citizenship for up to 11 million illegal immigrants, setting the stage for the full Senate to consider the landmark legislation next month.

After five days of debate over dozens of amendments, the Judiciary Committee voted 13 to 5 in support of the bill, with three Republicans joining the committee’s 10 Democrats. The legislation emerged with its core provisions largely intact, including new visa programs for high-tech and low-skilled workers and new investments in strengthening border control…

Late as this is, I wanted to take note of it. Because it’s what Joe Biden would call a BFD. Or, in more polite language, “sweeping” and “landmark.”

Some notes about developments since Tuesday night:

  • John Boehner, with zampolit Eric Cantor’s concurrence, said today the House isn’t just going to pass the Senate bill, whatever emerges from the Senate. Because, you know, his caucus is et up with Tea Party types these days, which means the speaker can’t just say he’ll do the reasonable thing on immigration.
  •  Further complicating Boehner’s life is the fact that, according to a new poll, 58 percent of Americans favor a “path to citizenship” for current illegals. Of course, his Tea Party members couldn’t care less about what America as a whole wants; they only have to please the portions of their gerrymandered districts who vote in GOP primaries. This could present problems down the line for the Republican Party, if the Senate passes something like the current bill and the House doesn’t also pass something very like it.
  • Here’s a quick overview of the bill, from The Washington Post.

By the way, I should probably share with you this release that I got from Lindsey Graham a few hours before the bill passed Judiciary:

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed three amendments introduced by U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina).


The Graham Amendments to the bipartisan Senate immigration bill would:


  • ·         Require Extra Background Checks for Aliens from Dangerous Countries.  The Graham Amendment requires additional background checks be performed on aliens petitioning for legalization that come from countries or regions the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of State determine represent a threat to the national security of the United States.


  • ·         Close a Potentially Dangerous Loophole in our Asylum and Refugee Program.  Another Graham Amendment would terminate an individual’s asylum or refugee status in most cases where the person returns to his or her home country.  The amendment would limit the ability of those seeking asylum in the United States to travel back to their home country without approval from the Secretary of Homeland Security or Attorney General.


  • ·         Toughen Up on Visa Overstays.  About 40 percent of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants did not illegally come across the border but simply overstayed their legal visas.  A third Graham Amendment requires visa overstay information collected under a new integrated mandatory exit system be shared with federal law enforcement, intelligence, and national security agencies and that the Secretary of DHS use that information to locate and remove aliens unlawfully present.




Lindsey is working hard to simultaneously accomplish his two conflicting purposes:

  1. To pass a rational comprehensive immigration bill.
  2. To persuade portions of his base that even though he is pushing a rational immigration bill, he’s still being really, really tough on them furriners.

8 thoughts on “A few words about that landmark immigration bill

  1. Bryan Caskey

    First, I would never “complain” about your blog. It’s great. I was merely adding my thoughts. Second, passing the Immigration bill is a big deal, but as you also note, the real test will be to see what the House does with it.

  2. Doug Ross

    An amendment was added earlier this week that would allow those on the “pathway to citizenship” to get three DUI’s before being deported. I thought we wanted to bring in law abiding citizens?

    Also, Chuck Schumer has made it clear that the whole “they will have to pay back taxes” idea that was floated earlier was a hoax. He says we can’t expect illegals to pay back taxes because a) they would be too much to pay and b) illegals don’t keep track of their earnings anyway so there would be no way to tell how much they owe. They lie and lie and lie and rely on an ignorant public to buy it.

    This bill will become more and more of an amnesty bill as it moves forward. I hope Lindsey Graham tries to get it passed and fail and then have to explain himself to his constituents who do not want this bill.

  3. bud

    On what basis is Mark Sanford’s fiancee allowed into the country? I assume it’s some type of temporary travel visa. But how long is that good for? Of course this is a moot point once the two are wed. But I’d be curious to see how long she can legally stay. I’m not accussing her of any wrongdoing, just curious.

    1. Kathryn Fenner

      Most likely a temporary visa. Probably not able to work under it.

      The limits on Argentinians are not likely to be exceeded.

  4. Bart

    “How does the bill address securing the border? Specifically, that is.”…Bryan

    Bryan, are you not aware of Janet Napolitano’s sworn testimony that the border is more secure than at any time in history? Why worry? Be Happy! We are safe and secure from all harm that may come our way from the border between the US and Mexico. And if there is violence, gunplay, or deaths due to guns, it is our fault after all. Just ask Calderon, Mexico’s president. He stood in front of congress and blamed the proliferation of guns in the hands of Mexican thugs and gangs working for the drug cartels on Americans.

    Why not just open the damn border and be done with it? The “amnesty bill” will end up being as toothless as the last one and the flow of illegals will continue, the ones already here will be granted citizenship because there is not a law passed that won’t have massive exceptions and exemptions attached to it or be granted through executive priviledge.

    The political game is becoming a joke and boring. End the dangers of smuggling people across the border at night by coyotes, end the needless costs of border patrols, end the never ending polarization of the parties on the subject and just accept the fact that “NOT ONE DAMN THING WILL BE DONE TO ENFORCE THE BILL” – PERIOD.

    1. Doug Ross

      Agreed, Bart. The government lacks the ability to craft and enforce any bill. They are actually debating over how many DUI’s a registered illegal immigrant can be convicted of before being deported. The current number is three.

      This is simply an expand the welfare rolls, expand the Democratic Party voting base, import cheap labor initiative.

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