While the House of Representatives continues to hold hearings on a number of different topics related to a comprehensive immigration reform bill, most attention is turning to the United States Senate where Democratic, Republican and White House negotiators are fast approaching looming deadlines. Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) continues to hold to a timeline that would bring a bill to the Senate floor for debate the week of May 14. What bill the Majority Leader takes to the floor remains uncertain. It is likely to be the same bill that the Senate passed last year, S 2611, or a version of the STRIVE Act, or something that may come out of the negotiations under way with the White House. A number of Republican Senators, including Senator Brownback (R-KS) wrote a letter to Reid asking that they have at least one week to review any proposal before a floor debate begins.
Given these developments the next 10 days will be critical for prospects for a comprehensive immigration bill in Congress. At this point, no deal with the White House would be the best scenario, since any negotiation would likely lead to significant attacks on the family-based immigration system, the disqualification of millions of undomented immigrants for a legalization program, the undermining of worker rights, and the possibility that many Democrats would be unable to support the outcome of these negotiations. Instead, the pressure is on to get the Majority Leader to bring a positive bill to the Senate floor and let all sides have at it in a floor debate that brings White House and other anti-immigrant proposals into the light of public scrutiny.
For now the best way to try to break the deadlock will be strong messages to Senate offices. We’ve got the American public on our side. According to recent polls, three out of every four Americans support a comprehensive immigration reform bill.
Tell Republicans that the proposals being promoted by the White House are alienating immigrant communities. If you don’t stand with us, we can’t stand with you.
Tell Democrats that it’s time for real leadership. You’re in the majority. Use it or lose it. Americans want effective and principled leadership.