Like any coverage of a sports event, there is information about key players that brings important highlights to the forthcoming event. In this case, a lot is at stake for both citizens and illegal immigrants. As President Trump’s deadline of March 5th rolls closer and after having his list of pillars for immigration that he wants to see, now it is in the hands of the House and the Senate to hammer out the details for a bill that he feels meets his expectations and he will sign.
All eyes at the moment are on the Senate as McConnell and Schumer indicated that they had worked out a “deal” that Immigration would be the flavor of the week this week in order to give time to get the process done.
From The Hill today: “The Senate’s main players on immigration legislation” comes the following information.
The fate of Senate immigration reform legislation rests in the hands of a few key senators on both sides of the aisle.
The stakes are enormously high, as hundreds of thousands of immigrants who entered the country illegally as children face deportation if Congress fails to act by March 5, a deadline set by President Trump.
Winning Strategy Goal:
Give immigrants legal status or even a path to citizenship hope to pass a bill out of the Senate with enough political momentum to win Trump’s support and then create pressure to schedule a vote on the House floor. Meet the expectations outlined in President Trump’s pillars and actually succeed in submitting a bill that can be signed into law which meets the expectations of the general citizen populace and provides for our nation’s border security.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has promised “a level playing field” for the Senate debate and “an amendment process that is fair to all sides,” but the outcome is far from certain.
Lining up on the Republican side:
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas): the Senate Republican whip, perhaps the most important player in the debate. This will be the fourth time he plays a high-profile role in a major Senate immigration debate. He is point and trusted by McConnell. He has a 2 to 1 record on events to craft a successful Senate Bi-Partisan Immigration Bill. 2006 and 2007 bills actually made it through the Senate but were refused by the House. 2013 simply collapsed under its own weight in the Senate.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.): Cotton is the feisty voice of conservatives who want to bolster the enforcement of immigration law — which critics on the right say has become overly lax — and decrease legal immigration quotas. In this debate, Cotton represents that base.
His winning strategy includes establishing a skills-based point system to replace the current employment visa system. He also plans to address two key points in Trump’s four-point immigration plan– to give the spouses and minor children of citizens and legal permanent residents preference for green cards and eliminate the diversity visa lottery program.
Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.): RINOS. Flake and Graham are two veterans of the Gang of Eight that authored the last comprehensive immigration reform bill to pass the Senate in 2013. They are members of the Judiciary Committee and solidly in favor of giving legal status, preferably a path to citizenship, to Dreamers. They are expected to vote with most Democrats on a proposal to protect Dreamers.
Both believe like Democrats that if the Senate proposes, the president will follow their lead without question. He and Graham still have not comprehended that they work for a president that takes no prisoners and expects more. More importantly, they appear to underestimate the citizens who voted for a tougher immigration stance in 2016. Their Democrat leaning actions could put at risk Republican elections in 2018 and 2020.
Their strategy is to support a bipartisan framework that creates a path to citizenship for qualified DACA illegals that Trump rescinded in September and to allocate $2.7 billion for border security.
Sens. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), James Lankford (R-Okla.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.): This trio represents the mainstream Senate Republican sentiment on immigration reform. Winning support from a majority of the Senate GOP conference for an immigration deal will require getting these three senators on board.
Their strategy has already been set when they together with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) co-sponsored the Secure and Succeed Act of 2018. The bill puts into legislative text Trump’s four-point immigration reform proposal.
They favor a 12-year path to citizenship for immigrants who meet the requirements of DACA. They want $25 billion to secure the U.S.-Mexico border and increased authority for border enforcement agents, such as the ability to retain custody of illegal border crossers instead of releasing them on their own recognizance. The trio have steadfastly insisted that granting Dreamers a path to citizenship must be matched with ending the immigration preference given to non-nuclear family members of citizens and permanent legal residents. They have stayed equally adamant about eliminating the diversity visa lottery program.
Lining up on the Democrat side:
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.): Durbin will serve as the clearing house for proposals on the Democratic side. He is the minority whip. Durbin has regularly highlighted the life stories of young people who came to the country illegally as children and have excelled academically and professionally, earning the trust of colleagues, as well as those facing deportation. It is expected that Durbin will help decide which of the proposed GOP reforms are acceptable concessions in return for protecting Dreamers. However, Schumer appears to make all decisions for Democrats.
As senior Democrat on the border security and immigration subcommittee, he has played a central role in negotiating the comprehensive immigration reform bill that passed the Senate in 2013. Durbin and Orrin Hatch introduced the first fairly realistically successful Dream Act, which gave young immigrants permanent resident status if they met certain requirements, in 2001. (The very first Dreamer bill was done by Representative Luis Gutiérrez but was not considered.) Since that time Durbin has been involved in introducing a some form of Dream Act Bill at least five times between 2007-2012 and possibly more since that time.
Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.): Schumer was the leading co-author of the 2013 comprehensive reform bill and is the political mastermind of the Democratic caucus.
Durbin may have more credibility with Dreamers because he has worked more closely with their community over the years. Yet, it is Schumer who will have the ultimate say on whether Democrats strike a deal with Republicans.
A lot will depend on how much ground Republicans are willing to give. If they insist on limiting the weight of family relationships in granting green cards, Schumer will have to decide whether to accept a compromise or to take the issue to voters in 2018 and 2020.
Senators who provide middle ground balance:
Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.): Collins and Manchin represent the Senate’s political center and have hosted regular meetings of moderates to find common ground on immigration. They represent the thinking of a small block of centrists who are determined to find a way to meet both sides in negotiations and provide a bi-partisan bill. How this block votes may well decide the outcome of a successful bill to present to the House for consideration.
Their strategy and goal is to keep the conversation going and to produce a result. Neither lawmaker had been as involved in Senate immigration negotiations as their colleagues mentioned above but they sprung into action after an impasse on the issue shut the government down for three days last month.
And there is the line up of the field playing out over the next week to get finished before the March 5th deadline.
Will this be the time and year that an actual Bi-Partisan realistically Immigration Reform and DACA bill actually gets through Congress? Or will it be punted into the future never to be heard from?
DACA recipients are not bargaining chips. They are real people with real attitudes and activities.
Some deserve the opportunity to remain as citizens especially if they have made efforts to follow the law. Others who chose to lay around on the dole do not. Still others who are a threat either in civil or criminal ways need removed. If they are militants, do not appreciate the rights of being a citizen of the US, or have found illegal and dangerous ways to profit from our people then do not hesitate — send them away or stand them in front of a firing squad.
Both Republicans and Democrats in the group face tough elections. In states won by Trump, Democrats could be tempted to accept some of the broader reforms Republicans are pushing. To prevent a loss of leads in home elections, Republicans may be tempted to cave in to Democrat demands.
The truth of the matter is that like President Trump and in truth prior presidents, citizens are extremely tired of the ineffectiveness and loggerhead grandiose displays of Congress in both chambers.
Schumer and Pelosi as the face of the Democrat Party are sick reminders of why Vaudeville Acts are no longer found as entertainment. Gutiérrez and others who were jailed outside congressional walls for demonstrating have worn out their welcome. Frantic efforts by RINOS and Democrats to find any and all ways to remove a duly elected sitting President from office who is actually achieving things that no president since Reagan has achieved is fast reaching a boiling over point.
Both Republicans and Democrats are on notice according to a weekend survey done for President Trump – GET IMMIGRATION REFORM AND DACA DONE!
Between 80-90% of those taking the survey were fed up with what has been happening in Congress and across the country. They indicated that immigration reform clearly defining illegal vs legal, DACA vs illegal activities, entry visas vs full-scale open borders, and my pet peeve “anchor babies” is very important and has to be addressed.
We all want a reasonable immigration bill that provides a clear path and a sunset clause for applying. We all want only those who want to be in the US and choose to assimilate either unskilled or skilled to be provided with an opportunity to follow our laws and become citizens.
What we don’t want is the crude refuse, the dangerous, the anarchists, those who refuse to assimilate, or the corrupt illegals and refugees to hold any sway, be allowed any rights which are a privilege of citizenship like voting, receive anything other than minimal benefit, or prosper only to backstab our country. We want to know that these people are swiftly rounded up and removed back to their place of origin. We want to know that citizens have no reason to fear walking the streets, attending events, or being safe in our homes.
We want our country back….
- One that citizens both natural and naturalized believe in again.
- One where we the citizens are placed far above the illegal elements who break our laws.
- One where a path to citizenship is no longer a farce.
- One where once again we can speak freely, peacefully on our beliefs and our rights without fear of authoritarian actions and disrespect.
- One where those who rave and rant are no longer allowed to threaten, harm, or destroy the peaceful assembly and rights of the other 95 percent.
- One where socialism/communism and radical Islamic militants are no longer a threat to our constitution, our country’s sovereignty or our individual rights to life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness.