Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Facts Go Forward---Maybe (A Certain Immigration Update)

A daily dose of immigration-related links collected by Fred Bauer
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John McCormack suggests that many senators might need to think about the implications of S. 744 a bit more:
Obamacare poses a tricky problem for supporters of the Senate's comprehensive immigration reform bill. It would be too politically toxic to give illegal immigrants amnesty and taxpayer subsidies under Obamacare, so the Senate bill prohibits "registered provisional immigrants" (individuals who are now residing illegally in the United States granted legal status under the bill) from receiving Obamacare subsidies. But in so doing the Senate's immigration bill would create a big financial incentive for some employers to hire non-citizens granted legal status over American citizens.
As the Washington Examiner's Philip Klein recently reported: "Under Obamacare, businesses with over 50 workers that employ American citizens without offering them qualifying health insurance could be subject to fines of up to $3,000 per worker. But because newly legalized immigrants wouldn’t be eligible for subsidies on the Obamacare exchanges until after they become citizens – at least 13 years under the Senate bill – businesses could avoid such fines by hiring the new immigrants instead."
On Tuesday afternoon, THE WEEKLY STANDARD asked five different U.S. Senators about this problem. These five senators, all Democrats, voted to cut off debate Monday night on the revised immigration bill, but none of them knew if the bill would create a financial incentive for some employers to hire amnestied immigrants instead of American citizens.
More thoughts along those lines here.

Rubio and McCain are boasting about how happy they are with the security provisions of this bill.

Rand Paul explains why he's against S. 744:
Of paramount concern is what to do with the 12 million people currently residing in the United States who are in legal limbo. No one is seriously contemplating they leave, but conservatives believe that normalizing their status should only follow serious efforts to secure the U.S.-Mexican border. And I’m sorry to say that the Gang of Eight’s proposal is just not serious.

Orrin Hatch explains why he's in favor of it:
This legislation significantly strengthens border security. An amendment by my colleagues Sens. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Bob Corker, R-Tenn., means that an additional 20,000 Border Patrol agents will be stationed along the southern border, more than doubling the current force.
It also requires that an additional 700 miles of fencing be built and that E-verify — an Internet-based system that ensures that employers hire only legal workers — be used by all businesses in the country, making it virtually impossible to work in the United States illegally.
Some have said this bill grants amnesty, but that’s just not true. We have de facto amnesty right now, and this bill fixes that. The fact is that in order to be put on a pathway to citizenship, immigrants currently here illegally would be required to pay a fine, pass criminal and national security background checks and pay taxes. 
Was there a "de facto amnesty" in 1986 or 2007, when Hatch voted against "reform"? 

Erick Erickson reminds us what various senators said about illegal immigration and "amnesty" while they were on the campaign trial.  Byron York also looks at Rubio's past statements.

No votes in the Senate on immigration on Tuesday, but Roll Call provides a handy schedule for the votes ahead:
  • A vote to adopt the omnibus amendment that includes the “border surge” from GOP Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee and John Hoeven of North Dakota could happen as early as 1 a.m. Wednesday. [FB update: Did not happen.]
  • Right after that, the Senate would vote on a procedural motion to limit debate, or invoke cloture, on the amendment reported by the Judiciary Committee, with all the other changes added on the floor.
  • The actual vote to adopt that substitute amendment would come due 30 hours thereafter, probably sometime before 8 a.m. Thursday.
  • That would be followed by a vote on the cloture motion to bring to a close debate on the whole thing, with another 30 hours to wait before the vote on final passage.
  • So, if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., finds that Republicans want him to grind through everything, the bill could still be done Friday afternoon, allowing him to meet his goal of getting out of town for the July Fourth recess with the immigration bill passed.
Mitch McConnell is hopeful that something can be worked out on immigration---in a House-Senate conference bill.

A National Journal poll suggests that those Republicans who vote for this bill might find themselves in some electoral hot water with voters back home:
A sizable plurality of registered GOP voters say they will be less likely to support their incumbent lawmaker if he or she votes for immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship for those currently living illegally in the United States, according to the latest United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll. The findings show that even as national Republican leaders tout the Senate's reform measure as a political necessity for the party, it remains a risky vote for individual GOP lawmakers wary of a primary challenger.
This could also affect some Democrats in Republican-leaning states.  (Perhaps that possibility of a backlash influenced Arizona governor Jan Brewer's clarification that she does not support S. 744 after all.)

(Link to this issue here.)     

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