Immigration reform stumbles
HERB BOYD Special to the AmNews | 6/20/2013, 11:21 a.m.
As if immigration reform wasn't saddled with enough encumbrances, its opponents are now dragging the recent bombings in Boston into the debate.
This point was testily dramatized on Monday at a Senate hearing when Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, snapped at each other over whether some members were using the bombings to exploit and delay the immigration discussion.
Grassley assumed the delay charge was aimed at him and interrupted Schumer, insisting, "I never said that!" Schumer quickly responded, stating that he wasn't talking about Grassley, who inferred that the bombings raised questions about the holes in the immigration system and needed examination in context of the bill last week.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-VT., chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, gaveled the proceedings to order and ended the exchange between the two Chucks.
This was the second hearing on immigration reform by the committee, and once again, it appears to be momentarily boondoggled by differences on how to go about strengthening border security and the details of the path to citizenship of the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants. (There is a petition making the rounds to eliminate the word "illegal" when referring to the immigrants.)
Much of the discussion at the hearing stems from proposals put forth by a body of eight senators from both sides of the aisle. At one point before the Boston tragedy, they seemed on the way to making a resolution. That would have been in keeping with polls that show the majority of Americans favor a comprehensive immigration bill. This is very similar to how the public feels about legislation on a measure for gun violence that was snuffed out by the Senate.
Another stumbling block to the bill is over the exclusion of provisions to consider gay marriages for immigration purposes. On this issue, two senators, Al Franken, D-Minn., and John McCain, R-Ariz., are miles apart, with McCain stating that including such a provision for gays would sink the bill.
As to where the White House stands on this matter, press secretary Jay Carney said, "One of the reasons we need comprehensive immigration reform is because it will enhance, when implemented, our national security."
Two weeks ago, when an agreement was reached between the farmworkers and the growers, it seemed that the rough edges of the bill had been ironed out, but now things are again at a major impasse and we may be daydreaming to think that immigration reform could be a done deal by June.