Yesterday, the U. S. Senate passed a sweeping immigration reform bill with 14 Republicans voting for passage. Now, the issue goes to the House of Representatives where it faces an uncertain future given the extremism and anti-immigrant mindset of the members of the House GOP. Obviously, if the reform is killed by Republicans in the House, Hispanics will have a greatly increased motivation to get themselves to the polls in 2016 and vote the bigots and racists out of office. Huffington Post looks at the bill that cleared the Senate:
The Senate passed a politically fraught immigration reform bill on Thursday that would give a path to citizenship to some of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S., bringing them out of the shadows and preventing continued record deportations that have separated hundreds of thousands of families. The bill passed 68 to 32, picking up all Democrats and 14 Republicans.
Undocumented immigrants and advocates in the crowd, many of them young so-called Dreamers, broke out into applause and chants of "yes we can!" after Vice President Joe Biden, who came to the Senate to preside over the proceedings, read the results. Senators in the bipartisan "gang of eight" that drafted the bill -- Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) -- patted each other on the back.
The path to citizenship is long -- likely 13 years or more -- and arduous, but advocates are thrilled that it would exist at all, given opposition from many Republicans and the failure of bills to carve out such a path in the past. Dreamers, young undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, would be able to earn green cards in five years, as would some agricultural workers.
The bill adds huge increases in border security, bolstered by an amendment from Corker and Hoeven that helped bring on board unsure Democrats and Republicans. The amendment would prevent green card status for undocumented immigrants until the government deploys 20,000 additional border agents, mandates E-Verify to prevent businesses from hiring unauthorized workers, completes a 700-mile border fence and adds to entry-exit systems to track whether foreign nationals overstay their visas.
Although those border security measures and other pieces of the bill come at a cost, the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the legislation would shrink the deficit by nearly than $900 billion, minus expenses from the Corker-Hoeven amendment.
The bill has vehement opponents in Sens. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas), along with 27 others who voted in opposition to the bill. They argue that the bill is "amnesty" . . . .
The opponents have expressed hope that the bill will die in the House, which is a possibility, given Republican opposition there. Lee said earlier Thursday on the Senate floor that the legislation is doomed to fail anyway, resigned that it would pass in the upper chamber.
"If this bill passes today, it will be all but relegated to the ash heap of history, as the House appears willing to tackle immigration reform the right way," Lee said ahead of the vote. "The sponsors of this bill had the best of intentions, but in my opinion, intentions aren’t enough."
A column in The Daily Beast suggests what will come now in the House: race baiting and the demonizing of immigrants and minorities in general, things that today's overtly racist GOP does best. Here are column excerpts:
The situation is this. The immigration reform bill passed the Senate yesterday. It will now go to the House. A few weeks ago, as I read things, there were occasional and tepid signals that the House would not take up the Senate bill. Now, by contrast, those signals are frequent and full-throated. For example, yesterday, Peter Roskam, a deputy GOP whip in the House, said this: “It is a pipe dream to think that [the Senate] bill is going to go to the floor and be voted on. The House is going to move through in a more deliberative process.”
“Deliberative process” probably means, in this case, killing the legislation. House conservatives, National Journal reports, are increasingly bullish on the idea that they may be able to persuade John Boehner to drop the whole thing.
Phyllis Schlafly and talk-radio opponents of the bill like Laura Ingraham have been saying for a while now that the party doesn’t need Latino votes, it just needs to build up the white vote.
And now, they have the social science to prove it, or the “social science” to “prove” it. Sean Trende, the conservative movement’s heavily-asterisked answer to Nate Silver (that is to say, Silver got everything right, and Trende got everything wrong), came out with an analysis this week headlined, “Does GOP Have to Pass Immigration Reform?,” showing that by golly no, it doesn’t.
Somehow or another, under Trende’s “racial polarization scenario,” it’ll be 2044 before the Democrats again capture 270 electoral votes. Thus is the heat of Schlafly’s rhetoric cooled and given fresh substance via the dispassionate tools of statistics.
These Republicans and the people they represent—that is, the sliver of people they care about representing—don’t want any outreach. They almost certainly won’t let a path to citizenship get through the House. And they’ll attack minorities in other ways, too.
And here’s the worst part of this story. If the House Republicans kill immigration reform, and Republican parties across the South double down to keep blacks from voting, then they really will need to jack up the white vote—and especially the old white vote—in a huge way to be competitive in 2016 and beyond. Well, they’re not going to do that by mailing out Lawrence Welk CDs. They’re going to run heavily divisive and racialized campaigns, worse than we’ve ever seen out of Nixon or anyone. Their only hope of victory will be to make a prophet of Trende—that is, reduce the Democrats’ share of the white vote to something in the mid- to low-30 percent range. That probably can’t happen, but there’s only one way it might. Run the most racially inflamed campaign imaginable.
That’s the near-term future we’re staring at. We can take satisfaction in the fact that it’s bad for them, but unfortunately, it’s not so good for the country.