Graham, Schumer reignite immigration reform

By Sahil Kapur
Monday, February 7, 2011 15:54 EDT
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WASHINGTON – Key senators from both major parties have initiated new discussions on broad immigration reform, after Democrats attempted to take up the explosively controversial issue last year only to see it fail.

Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the point persons on immigration for their respective parties, have reportedly spurred talks between lawmakers and relevant interest groups about an invigorated push for reform.

“It’s in the infant stage,” Graham told Politico. “I don’t know what the political appetite is to do something.”

Schumer told the paper that he recently initiated “preliminary talks, particularly with outside groups” in an attempt to build support for a measure.

“And who knows, we might surprise everyone and get something done,” he told Politico. “We realize it is a tough thing to do, but it is very important, and it’s worth a shot. We’ve been getting interesting, positive responses — from places you wouldn’t expect it.”

It’s too early to tell whether the effort will be viable. Republicans, who were defiant against a broad overhaul last year, have since taken control of the House of Representatives and expanded their numbers in the Senate.

Interest groups expected to play an important role in shaping any effort are business groups such as the US Chamber of Commerce, labor unions like AFL-CIO and SEIU, Latino groups, and pro- and anti-immigrant organizations. Several of them confirmed to Politico that Schumer reached out to them.

President Barack Obama made a passionate call for immigration reform in his State of the Union address last month, asking Congress to offer a path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants and make it easier for skilled workers to gain permanent residency.

Republican leaders have said they won’t negotiate until the Obama administration secures the border first — a position that remained unchanged even after the White House successfully pushed for a $600 million surge in funding for border enforcement last summer.

Graham was the lone Republican senator who participated in bipartisan immigration talks last year, but backed out before any deal could be struck. In the 112th Congress, Democrats will have to sway many more Republicans in order to mount a serious push.

The issue of whether to offer legal status to the roughly 10 million undocumented immigrants is likely to be highly polarizing, as it has been in the past.

Even though there is broad agreement that the immigration system needs an overhaul, balancing the wishes of the various factions will be tremendously difficult given that some want more permissive immigration measures

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WE3JWKWUY2R62UY5JMETECQBHE Dimitri Sokolov

    We really need to just stop illegal immigration. Business that hire illegal aliens should be closed down. Illegal immigrants that stand in front of Home Depot should be arrested and deported. What’s so hard about this?

  • Anonymous

    Who trusts lindsay?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KLF5SUA5RDYXG54WWF5SHMVRAI X

    So, instead of saying COMPREHENSIVE immigration reform, they’re now saying BROAD immigration reform?

    Like health care, the only good way to do this is piecemeal. If somebody has a good idea, bring it to a vote. Pretty simple.

    The only reason they use the “comprehensive” approach is because under the “comprehensive” plans they’re able to give everything to the corporations while pointing to a few tiny gestures made to the people.

    Graham and Schumer are snakes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bob-Zentrails/100001475536421 Bob Zentrails

    “secure the border first” secure it from what, exactly?

    People are coming here for jobs because there ain’t any anymore.

    You don’t have to secure a border when there ain’t nothing going across it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bob-Zentrails/100001475536421 Bob Zentrails

    “Graham and Schumer are snakes.” and that makes them different than any other politician, how?

  • Anonymous

    Its really kinda easy. You build a large fence, you create a work program so that when needed Americans can request x amount of Immigrant workers and let them come in and work. Works done, they go home and spread the love with their families.

  • Anonymous

    Let me get this straight, we have 15 million AMERICANS who can’t find a job, going bankrupt, homeless…. and they want to legalize 11 million illegal immigrants so they can compete for the few jobs available. Wouldn’t that double the unemployment rate? Way to kick working class AMERICANS when they’re down.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TX3MXXPF52BXCKGNLDNPADILPQ paul rogers

    dbl post

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TX3MXXPF52BXCKGNLDNPADILPQ paul rogers
  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3QIJ4LGZX6PZOJSD57QIC3NRAA Straw

    We need a catch and release program.

    Catch the illegal.
    Then release them right into a wood chipper.

    The front of Home Depot would be ghost town in about a second.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/KHUGSYMRDZ635QMFO5P6UA5MTM nunya

    Those of us that made a name for ourselves with our construction skills are always in demand, while the drunk and lazy guys that no one will hire just whine about mexicans.

  • Anonymous

    Is everyone here forgetting that this country’s foundation is the working class and immigrants (both undocumented and documented) So are you all dumb enough to think that your family came from Ellis Island legally? I am so sick of racism and ignorance today. Who do you picks your strawberries that YOU pay LESS for at the store? Lets look at reality people, read a book about the history of the West, for example, the Treaty of Guadalupe de Hidalgo, and then make a comment worthy of intelligent debate.
    Por favor….

  • Anonymous

    Government is still giving tax breaks to companies that outsource jobs. Government still refuses to force employers to us E-Verify (to stop employment of illegals) and government still allows and encourages business to use H1/Green Card/Guest workers. Government is still refusing to renegotiate NAFTA (as Obama promised) and is pushing for more “free trade” agreements. Government is BOTH parties. Neither party will do anything about illegals or guest workers or outsourcing, or one sided trade agreements because BOTH parties are owned by the multinationals. Populist Third Party.

  • Anonymous

    what dont these morons understand about the word illegal. send them back
    let them do it the legal way
    too many legal americans willing to do the work the illegals do. bush is full of shit and bush brother obama is just like him

  • Anonymous

    this aint the 18th century.
    how bout you making some sense. illegal is illegal

  • http://www.tommyjonestheband.com RantingTommy

    Republican addiction to cheap labor prevents a solution

  • http://www.tommyjonestheband.com RantingTommy


    arrest the EMPLOYERS and the problem will solve itself

  • http://www.tommyjonestheband.com RantingTommy

    it would be more effective to arrest the employers and eliminate the magnet

    but Republicans are too addicted to the cheap labor to let that happen

    fortunately, Obama has set a record for deportations every year he’s been in office

  • http://www.tommyjonestheband.com RantingTommy

    sending them back just creates a job opening for the next one

    arrest the EMPLOYERS and you solve the problem

    of course, that would upset the cheap labor that Republicans depend on

  • Anonymous

    Hey Lindsay, how many millions of illegals are you looking to get documented under your amnesty program?

    Reagan got over 3 million illegals granted amnesty. Maybe you can do even more!

  • Anonymous

    The wording of the health care reform law specifically extends medical coverage and subsidies to “all aliens legally present” – a bizarre and wholly extravagant extension of largess to the medico-pharma-insurance complex and non-citizens unequaled anywhere else in the world for openers which would be instantly extended to all illegal aliens currently present, and those in the future, should their presence be “legalized” through immigration reform. This is what it is really all about.

    With that, the “cost” of so-called comprehensive or broad “immigration reform” would add 10 to 20 M uninsured to the rolls of the 30-40 M citizens already uninsured and eligible. The Dems have been lying about all this from the start and the Repugs have been going along in order to get tax-payers to foot the bill for the medical costs of their cheap illegal labor pool.

  • Anonymous

    Yesssss, !!! Enact “felony” level penalties for employers! And throw in repeal of NAFTA too!
    It is time for Mexico to solve its own economic problems without US intervention and subsidization.

  • Sandi

    Why is it that your statement only comes up in the immigration debate?

    The “War on Terror” is illegal. The government spying on you is illegal. Torturing innocent “detainees” is illegal. Holding people at Gitmo without charges is illegal. The Federal Government prohibiting marijuana and coca leaves is illegal. These are far worse crimes than a parent getting a job to feed his or her children.

    How about getting some common sense. The immigration problem was created by the government and its habit of treating the common man like dirt. Illegal immigrants are the common man starved out of their homes by U.S. foreign policy. Don’t blame the victim.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EHJJXSTSSOCXLTSQBUVIDYUF7M Dave

    Illegals are scabs.

    Deport them and jail their employers.

    They are a tool of the rich man used to drive up unemployment and drive down wages.

  • Anonymous

    NOBODY IS ILLEGAL imbecil. You have dumbed yourself down by using the vocabulary of mainstream media and you are the one who does not make any sense. By the way, I encourage you to work a day in the fields in California (like Colbert) because you have no idea what undocumented workers go through and CONTRIBUTE to this country.
    Check out Steven Colbert address the Congress and be enlightened cabrones: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1T75jBYeCs

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DFO26ZTHHBKLAS7STLD3JV3USY jjhuyzinga

    Issue renewable photo-ID work visas (legal resident) after gunshow type background checks. Mandate they purchase health insurance for themselves and their families from their employers and pay all taxes. After five years documented with tax receipts and no convictions, they apply for citizenship. Same goes for those already here. Keep issuing work permits as long as there are workers standing in line. Allow labor market fundamentals of supply and demand to control the flow. (More have been leaving than entering since 2007).

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WE3JWKWUY2R62UY5JMETECQBHE Dimitri Sokolov

    You are right that neither party does absolutely nothing about illegal immigration. Reagan granted amnesty which was supposed to solve the problem. Well, it didn’t. Seal the freakin’ border. If we can guard the borders of Iraq, Afghanistan and South Korea, we can guard our own. The president should be impeached for dereliction of duty and so should the next one if they don’t stop illegal immigration.

  • Anonymous

    Let me get this straight, we have 15 million AMERICANS who can’t find a job, going bankrupt, homeless…. and they want to legalize 11 million illegal immigrants so they can compete for the few jobs available. Wouldn’t that double the unemployment rate? Way to kick working class AMERICANS when they’re down

  • Anonymous

    Hear, hear! Kick ‘em all out. Start with the ones from Israel.

    And by all means, do absolutely nothing about the War of Drugs and NAFTA so that the other ones South of the border are forced to come here to escape from what you have bestowed upon them in their own land.

  • Anonymous

    you want to resort to name calling? see what it gets
    illegal is illegal, no matter what work they do, they entered the country illegally

  • Anonymous

    you like resorting to name calling?
    illegal is illegal.
    they entered this country illegally.
    they broke the law.
    doesnt matter what they do for work.
    deal with the consequences
    that name calling gets you

  • NadePaulKuciGravMcKi

    too much attention on Israel for Lindsey and Schumer
    just reignite the immigration reform battle

    Smoke And Mirrors!
    19 dancing oswalds

  • Anonymous

    we can’t seal the border. it has never been done, we can’t seal the borders with afghanistan, either. as long as the R’s refuse to talk until the borders are sealed, there will be no discussion.

  • Anonymous

    Nothing will happen. Nothing will change. Obama ramps up enforcement and deportations and nobody notices or cares. The ONLY solution for one side is mass deportation. Since this is unacceptable to both the humanists and the employers, it will NEVER happen. ANYTHING that even comes close to discussing ANYTHING which could be characterized as amnesty (for example anything including the word “comprehensive”) will be screamed about by the nativist screamers, and nothing will get done. If our politicians cared more about the future of this country than they did about their own personal prosperity, we would have a chance. But they don’t, and we don’t. I am normally more optimistic regarding human nature, but this issue is extremely emotional, and that is the fuel (emotion) which is running politics these days. Reason was shown the door a long time ago.

  • Anonymous