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Sen. Graham not ready to move to immigration

The buzz right now is that the Democrats mean to turn to immigration reform after financial-regulation reform. That's proving a surprise to even the legislators who want immigration reform, like Sen. Lindsey Graham.

“What bill are we going to take up?” he asked in an interview. “What are we going to do? I mean, you’ve done nothing to lay the groundwork for this, we’ve spent all of our time on health care. What bill are we going to take up? Do you expect me to write a bill? Am I going to write every bill in this Congress?”

Graham has long said that he would not introduce immigration legislation without another Republican on board. President Barack Obama is trying to help find one. But Democratic leaders decided this week that they will move forward with or without one. With Republican support, the legislation might actually clear Congress. Without it, it won’t. But it might still show Hispanics, many of whom are annoyed by inaction on immigration, that Democrats tried. And it could point the blame toward Republicans, further winning over Hispanic political support to Democrats.

And it might split the Republicans as they try to balance the need to repair relations with Hispanics against the loud demands their base will be making for a harsh and unyielding stance against illegal immigrants. So Graham's analysis seems more right than wrong: News that Democrats will turn to immigration next is coming as a surprise because the legislative legwork really hasn't been done to pass the bill. But you don't need to pass a bill to reactivate the politics of the issue and put Republicans in a bind.

The other question, of course, is what happens to the Kerry-Graham-Lieberman climate bill if immigration cuts in line?

By Ezra Klein  |  April 23, 2010; 8:04 AM ET
Categories:  Immigration  
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Ezra is wrong. Patrick Roberts of The Irish Central said it best: "Democrats are playing with fire if they think a phony bill with no hope of passage will fool anyone."
If the Democrats fail to pass immigration reform before the midterm elections, they must be punished for having squandered their current large majorities in the House and Senate. This is the last chance of enacting immigration reform before the 2012 elections, and if Obama does not fulfill his promise to the Hispanics, he will be unelectable in 2012. And that is the bottom line!

Posted by: mehuwss | April 23, 2010 8:29 AM | Report abuse

"But it might still show Hispanics, many of whom are annoyed by inaction on immigration, that Democrats tried. And it could point the blame toward Republicans, further winning over Hispanic political support to Democrats."

Could be, although that assumes that a large amount of legal immigrants and naturalized citizens (and 2nd and 3rd generation Hispanic immigrant families, of course) who have jumped all the hurdles and made all the sacrifices to become legal citizens are totally cool with the folks who came her illegally, bypassing all that, being made into legal citizens with the wave of a magic wand.

Which, frankly, if true, it begs explanation. When you do everything by the book and work hard and stay late, and then the guy who just showed up and goofs off but the boss likes (for some reason) gets the promotion, are you all psyched about that?

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | April 23, 2010 8:30 AM | Report abuse

@mehuwss: "if Obama does not fulfill his promise to the Hispanics, he will be unelectable in 2012. And that is the bottom line"

Seriously? Folks that motivated by immigration reform as a single issue are going to vote for the Republican against Obama?

They would still likely have a better chance at solid immigration reform with Democrats in charge than Republican.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | April 23, 2010 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Kevin_Willis wrote: "Seriously? Folks that motivated by immigration reform as a single issue are going to vote for the Republican against Obama?"
Obama fooled the Hispanics once, but he will not get a chance to fool them again. Besides, Mitt Romney might be better suited to resolve a complicated issue like immigration reform. He talked tough on immigration in 2008, but he is really a moderate.

Posted by: mehuwss | April 23, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

You liberals in the media are so dense. For every Hispanic who will vote about double the independent will be incensed by this amnesty. The GOP will come out golden. If a Black independent such as myself who voted for Obama and Dem down the ticket is bolting for the GOP, the GOP will come out on top.

Posted by: cleancut77 | April 23, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Will they be able to get an immigration bill through the house? The Blue Dogs have got to be freakin' out on another tough vote before the mid-terms. Though by the time the vote takes place, they will likely be so far behind, they might as well get something done.

Posted by: ChicagoIndependant | April 23, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

@cleancut77: I didn't vote for Obama (or the Democrats, except for governor) , but I gotta ask why you'd be bolting for the GOP? Obama and the Democrats are basically delivering, or trying their best to deliver, on their campaign promises (except for the tax cuts and not raising taxes on folks making less that $250k, but you gotta expect that).There was never any indication he'd take a hard line on immigration. He promised some form of HCR. A cap-and-trade energy policy. And so on.

If Republicans (all the talk about their lockstep unity aside) could govern, and advance their agenda, as well as the Democrats have been recently, I would've been much happier during the Bush years.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | April 23, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

@mehuwss: I seriously don't think what you are saying is correct. It's all in how the bill is presented, how the discussion is handled in Congress, and how well it is spun to the general public.

And I can guarantee you no Hispanic (that isn't a Republican already) really thinks Mitt Romney, or any Republican for that matter, will move forward a truly comprehensive immigration bill. Even Republican Hispanics probably don't think they would.

@cleancut77: That's an assumption on your part. Immigration Reform is needed. What the views of the "Independent" voter are I doubt you would be in a good place to represent.

Also, this is a strategic boon for Democrats, and potentially a tactical boon as well, again, based on how they sell this bill.

Heck, it's not like they can sink their 2010 electoral fortunes much lower if they present a comprehensive bill. If they present what's labeled as "amnesty" by 60-70% of the public, then yes, Democrats are in deep trouble. Which brings me back to my original point: It's all in how well they sell it and/or how badly the other team plays it.

No one likes having someone demean others. If the news cycle is dominated by anti-immigration bigots spewing garbage about Hispanics, it's a win-win for Democrats.

Posted by: JERiv | April 23, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

This would be the SECOND, not the first time another issue cut in line ahead of climate "change." Healthcare did it first. Remember that global warming was named as top legislative priority before healthcare, and after just a few weeks in that position was shelved in favor of healthcare. The role of climate change as a legislative issue seems to be as a distraction, or head fake, for the originally intended controversial issue to be set in motion.

Posted by: truck1 | April 23, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Hmmm, maybe if Graham and Leiberman are serious about the climate change bill, and Graham can deliver five or six Republican votes for their bill, they could agree to move that in front of immigration. It seems like climate change would be a preferable issue for Republicans, and if it was guaranteed passage and enough R-votes to be plausibly considered bi-partisan it would be another legislative success for the Dems. Plus, though the latino community is understandably unhappy that immigration hasn't been addressed yet, passing climate change would be a nice nod to the base, which felt pretty annoyed by the process of passing HCR.

Also, I guess I just always thought that there were always bills waiting in the wings, or at least the basic frameworks for bills, just waiting for Congress to turn its attention to the issue. What "legislative legwork" needs to be done? Aren't there legislators already knowledgable in the issue that could come up with a draft of a bill pretty quickly?

Posted by: MosBen | April 23, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

There is a bill in the House called HR 1868 to end the Anchor Baby route to citizenship. This law would require at least one of the parents at the time of birth be a US citizen for the child to gain citizenship. Wow, immigration reform that has been pending for too long that all citizen taxpayers would agree on, yet it sits in Congress.

Posted by: Bubbette1 | April 23, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Millions here unemployed? Let's legalize job thieves.
Trying to cut back on consumption? Let's legalize more consumers.
Trying to raise test scores? Let's legalize more future dropouts.
Trying to stem illegal immigration? Let's legalize illegal immigrants.

Yes, folks, this is the why Americans have lost faith in Washington. Because what they are doing is so utterly stupid.

Posted by: wandagb | April 23, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse


Because the bill is patently unconstitutional?

"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."

It can't get any clearer than that.

Posted by: lol-lol | April 23, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Kevin_Willis is right: God bless Dems & Obama; they are indeed delivering.

If after HCR, FinReg, recouping bailout money, improving economy (not employment which will take long time) and possible START treaty through Senate; this Congress would have achieved lot.

My point - what are the chances come August / September, for Dems to make the case on sheer governance to American electorates? Will they not be in a stronger position on that account?

I believe that is one good plank for Dems to contest 2010.

For this to happen, it means passing some form of immigration is required; even though I am still not convinced that Dems have b**ls to do that. As I say again and again, the only way Dems can touch immigration is when they are ready for Karl Rove type divisive politics. Only Karl, Cheney & Bush can pull off that kind electoral victories - dividing voters by cultural wars. They were masters at that. Obama & Dems are not in that mold, their politics is not suitable for such strategies and simply, may be that cunning is not there. Not that I am unhappy for that, but these are independent observations. So I am not clear what is a right path for Dems to handle immigration.

Posted by: umesh409 | April 23, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Every Bill? Has Graham written ANY bills?

I can't think of one. He's been primarily noteworthy for backing out of writing bills.

Posted by: pj_camp | April 23, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

kevin, I appreciate your comments. People who came in the right way and follow the law are against giving amnesty to this illegal horde. I know as my parent and their friends and other legal immigrants that I have spoken with are in agreement. These people need to be deported. Take their children with them. No one is trying to split up any family. Let's take care of our citizens. do not give citizenship to children of illegals. Give jobs to our citizens. who deserves them more? We need to quit saying that this is a nation of immigrants. We should not base our nation on this principle. That was then and this is now. We should not be seen as the worlds lifeboat.

Posted by: quidel | April 23, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Legal citizens who jumped through hoops are welcome--but illegal immigrants will not get any Amnesty--leading to citizenship.
Arizona Govern Jan Brewer has more--SPINE--than the majority of our politicians, to fight the overpowering onslaught of illegal immigration. She signed the 1070 immigration bill. Its ignorance and indifference of Washington to enforce our immigration laws. In fact they have purposely under funded them. San. Harry Reid (D-NV) is not being outed just for health care reform, but being a puppet of open border-special interests groups? LETS MAKE THAT CLEAR.One thing for absolutely sure, desperate illegal alien families will be fleeing Arizona, for more greener pastures such as California. Seeing California is a Refuge state for illegal foreigners and already has the largest illegal population in Unites States other than New York. Now starving for billions of dollars, California will have to amend there own enforcement laws to stop the massive migration or pay a heavy price in extorting more money from taxpayers. Then there is always Utah, Texas, New Mexico or even farther states such as Washington. ONE THINGS FOR SURE, THAT THEY MAY PASS SOME FORMULATION OF IMMIGRATION REFORM. BUT AMERICA WILL FIGHT TOOTH AND NAIL THAT NO "PATH--TO--CITIZENSHIP" FOR THOSE WHO CAME HERE ILLEGALLY. I am personally a tea partier a moderate Conservative and definitely not a Democrat and Republicans.-and illegal immigration is the no.1 priority to me, and must be stopped for good.

Californian's are under financial hardship owing to the welfare programs that caters to illegal alien families, and with an outpouring of Arizona's illegals the Sacramento budget will triple in handouts. Californian's, specifically Angeleno's and San Francisco There should be no excuse why FEDERAL SOLDIERS SHOULD BE NOT DEPLOYED TO THE 2000 MILE BORDER. They need to police the border, with the under-manned border patrol and even a poorly funded law enforcement agencies. Sheriffs and deputies that are in a very dangerous area are rudimentary armed, against heinous felons, drug cartels, skin traffickers, smugglers and the flow of unceasing indigent illegal immigrants. LET ME REITERATE, THAT IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT IS ONLY SEEN TO WORK. BUT THE TRUTH IS ITS NOT ENFORCED--THAT RIGHT NOW HOMELAND SECURITY HAS CUT BUDGETS FOR IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT. If you are--NOT--an open border extremist, join the organization that is fighting for our rights, your language, freedoms and liberty at NumbersUSA.

Posted by: infinity555 | April 23, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

We don't need any kind of reform. We need our immigration laws ENFORCED! It's time to get these illegal aliens out of this Country and back to their own Country with their families where they belong.

If they want to come to this Country legally, it's easy. Just apply and wait. How easy is that?

Posted by: scuncic | April 23, 2010 11:17 PM | Report abuse

"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, AND subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.

Exactly. All persons born or naturalized in the United States who are subject to the United States are citizens of the United States and the State wherein they reside.

It's clear-cut that illegals who come here and have children are not under the jurisdiction of the United States, as they are not citizens.

Ambassadors who come to the States and have children don't get U.S. citizenship. People who visit here on vacation who have children here do not get U.S. citizenship.

Illegals who come here and have children do not automatically get U.S. citizenship for their children under that clause of the Constitution!

Posted by: OfConservativeMind | April 25, 2010 2:03 AM | Report abuse

OfConservativeMind, no, illegal immigrants who come to this country and have children do not get citizenship through having had a child here.

A child born in this country, however, are citizens.

Posted by: MosBen | April 25, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Sen. Graham is worried about the immigration bill because of the wingnut effort to "out" him over the immigration issue. The Senator needs to come clean about the real reasons why he feels so strongly against the Senate taking up this issue right now. It has absolutely NOTHING to do with principles or Graham's "commitment to the climate change issue" and everything to do with the stories earlier last week.

Posted by: osullivanc1 | April 25, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Our government has failed miserably to do the only job they were elected to do. Protect the citizens of this Country. For too long both the Democrats and Republicans have pandered to illegal aliens. The Democrats for the votes and the Republicans for the cheap labor. Both parties happily pass on the massive cost of this treason to the taxpayers. It is time government officials start seeing some jail time. The sleaze, bribery, double dealing and selling out of the citizens taxpayers has to stop.

We do not immigration reform, we need our government to enforce the laws on the books. Take a look at the Arizona law, it mirrors the Federal law. Yet the liberal rags are all about how unconstitutional, protect the civil rights of illegals, blah blah.

Enough. Pass and mandate E-Verify. Start sending employers who hire illegals to jail. Start deporting illegals. Don't drop them off at the border, ship them down to Vera Cruz and drop them off.

There is a bill HR 1868 that would reguire for a baby born on US soil to gain citizenship would require at the time of birth one parent to be a US citizenship. How much sense does this make and would end the 400,000 Anchor Babies followed by the 18 years of welfare payments and legal fees (paid by the taxpayers) to fight extradition.

We need reform, but we need reform to end the invasion of our Country. Send the 12 to 40 million illegals home. The savings in welfare, prison housing and other costs now shoveled off to the taxpayer would be a step in the right direction.

If the Democrats think there was outrage over Obamacare wait until they try to ram an amnesty bill down the throat of the Nation. There may well be violence over this which is what the Democrats seem to want.

Posted by: Bubbette1 | April 25, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

To have the Senator whine in surprise seems to say that he thought Arizona passing their draconian "show us your papers" law would have no national repercussions.

It's being reported now that Texans are feeling emboldened by the AZ law. The GOP is in the process of cementing their anti-brown-ness for at least a generation.

Can't really blame the Dems, who endured a year of political hay-making on healthcare for wanting to turn the tables.

(The commenter who suggested Graham's sudden spine is related to the right-wing outing has a point, too.)

Posted by: RalfW | April 26, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

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