President Obama to pursue comprehensive immigration reform after the ‘fiscal cliff’ is resolved

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Both the The Arizona Republic(an) and the Arizona Daily Star editorialized today for immigration reform in the next Congress. These editors seem to think that Tea-Publicans in Congress are ready to be reasonable on immigration reform. They express unjustified confidence in Tea-Publicans not grounded in fact or to  be believed from past conduct.

President Obama will “begin an all-out drive for comprehensive
immigration reform, including seeking a path to citizenship” for 11
million undocumented immigrants, after Congress addresses the fiscal
cliff, the Los Angeles Times reports. Obama plans push for immigration reform:

As soon as the confrontation over fiscal policy winds down, the Obama
administration will begin an all-out drive for comprehensive
immigration reform, including seeking a path to citizenship for 11
million illegal immigrants, according to officials briefed on the plans.

While key tactical decisions are still being made, President Obama
wants a catch-all bill that would also bolster border security measures,
ratchet up penalties for employers who hire illegal immigrants, and
make it easier to bring in foreign workers under special visas, among
other elements.

Senior White House advisors plan to launch a social media blitz in
January, and expect to tap the same organizations and unions that helped
get a record number of Latino voters to reelect the president.

Cabinet secretaries are preparing to make the case for how changes in
immigration laws could benefit businesses, education, healthcare and
public safety. Congressional committees could hold hearings on
immigration legislation as soon as late January or early February.

* * *

The focus comes amid new analysis of census data by the Pew Hispanic
Center that shows illegal immigration is down and enforcement levels are
at an all-time high.

Democratic strategists believe there is only a narrow window at the
beginning of the year to get an initiative launched in Congress, before
lawmakers begin to turn their attention to the next election cycle and
are less likely to take a risky vote on a controversial bill.

"It's going to be early," said Clarissa Martinez de Castro, director
of civic engagement and immigration for the National Council of La Raza.
"We are seeing it being organized to be ready."

The White House declined to discuss its possible strategy while still
embroiled in the year-end battle over taxes and spending cuts.

"Our focus is on the fiscal cliff," said a White House official who requested anonymity to discuss the matter.

* * *

But Republicans, including some who are in favor of immigration
change, are pushing a go-slow approach. Rather than working on one
comprehensive bill, Congress should pass a series of bills
that help
foreign entrepreneurs, technology workers, agricultural workers and
those who were brought to the U.S. unlawfully as children, said Sen.
Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who is the highest-profile Republican Latino
politician and is expected to be an important GOP voice on immigration.

Small parts of the immigration issue should be tackled before
addressing how to create a pathway to legal status for most illegal
immigrants in the U.S., Rubio said Wednesday
.

"Portions of immigration reform can be dealt with quicker than others," he said.

In conversations with congressional offices, White House officials
have said the president would be "all in" on the issue and would want to
push for a broad bill. But officials have not been specific about exactly how the president
will use the bully pulpit or whether immigration will be a showpiece of
the inaugural speech on Jan. 21 or the State of the Union address in
early February.

Well, I'll go out on the limb and predict that comprehensive immigration reform will in fact be part of President Obama's State of The Union speech, and quite possibly foreshadowed in his Second Inaugural Address.

One of the key strategic moves still being decided is whether or not the
White House sends Congress a piece of legislation or lets lawmakers
take the lead in writing the bill.

* * *

One option is to dust off more than 300 pages of draft legislative
language for a large immigration bill that went through a time-consuming
Cabinet-level review in 2010 and was quietly handed to members of the
Senate.

The 2010 initiative, led by Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y) and
Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), died in back-room negotiations when it was
clear the senators couldn't muster the votes to get it passed.

The draft language creates a renewable visa for illegal immigrants
already in the U.S. and allows them to eventually get in line for a
green card after they submit to background checks, learn English and pay
back taxes and a fine. The proposal also would require employers to use
a federal database to check workers' immigration status, among other
provisions.

Some lawmakers prefer that the White House not dictate the terms of
the bill and leave the hard negotiations to an informal group with
representatives from both parties as a way to avoid a contentious
ideological fight in the committees, said two congressional staffers who
were not authorized to speak publicly about the discussions.

[Yeah, this worked so well for the Affordable Care Act. Tea-Publicans just used it an an opportunity for delays and concessions, then voted uniformly against it as they always intended to do. This doesn't engender any trust on a devisive issue like immigration reform. Tea-Publicans are Lucy with the football assuring Charlie Brown that she will let him kick the ball this time — only to pull it away at the last second.]

A bipartisan group of six senators met behind closed doors in the
Capitol for 30 minutes on Tuesday night for what is expected to be the
first of many meetings on how to get a version of the immigration bill
through Congress. On the Republican side, the newly elected junior
senator from Arizona, Jeff Flake, joined longtime immigration reform
advocates Graham and John McCain of Arizona for the talks. The Democrats
were Schumer, Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Richard J. Durbin of
Illinois.

If Sens. McCain and Flake from Arizona are part of the "gang of six" working on a comprehensive immigration reform bill, you are going to have to contact their offices and encourage them to return to their 2007 position on immigration reform, before they abandoned their position out of fear of the anti-immigrant hysteria from nativist extremists in Arizona. You will have to demand that they demonstrate courage and to "do the right thing" this time.

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