Both Republicans and Democrats agreed at the weekend that a path to citizenship for the undocumented will be part of the new immigration reform bill.
A reform bill could affect as many as 30,000 Irish undocumented. The issue of future flow to America is also under discussion and could mean more Irish will be allowed to emigrate.
The New York Times reported that a bipartisan consensus has been reached that will allow an estimated 11 million undocumented to become citizens after border security measures are approved.
The bipartisan group is led by Senator Charles Schumer of New York and Senator John McCain of Arizona and includes key senators from both sides.
Senator Schumer stated, “We on the Democratic side have said that we are flexible and we want to get a bill. But there’s a bottom line, and that’s a path to citizenship for the 11 or so million people who qualify. We’ve made great, great progress with our Republican colleagues.”
President Obama is set to unveil his proposals for reform on Tuesday in Las Vegas in what is expected to be the beginning of a major new initiative of his second term.
Read more on Irish immigration and reform here
Senator John McCain, Republican, of Arizona, stated he saw “a new appreciation” among Republicans of the need for an overhaul.
“Look at the last election,” McCain said. “We are losing dramatically the Hispanic vote, which we think should be ours.We can’t go on forever with 11 million people living in this country in the shadows in an illegal status.”
The five page draft is also backed by Senator Marco Rubio, the Florida senator who is seen as a key figure in the debate.
The measure was described in the document as a “tough, fair and practical road map.” Appearing on the Sunday morning shows there was surprising agreement between GOP and Democrats on the issue.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice Education Fund, “It’s thrilling to see the calls for citizenship from across the political spectrum. While there’s still much to be worked out regarding the requirements and the timeline for those aspiring to be citizens, the debate has taken a clear shift from ‘is immigration reform going to happen’ to ‘what kind of path to citizenship will it include.’ As the dialogue continues to evolve over the coming weeks and months, we will continue to fight to ensure that a clear and simple path to full citizenship is the centerpiece of whatever legislation becomes law.”
Among the Sunday TV shows highlights:
According to a recap by ABC News “Two senators at the center of negotiations over comprehensive immigration reform, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) said on Sunday that a pathway to citizenship is an essential component of a comprehensive reform bill.
‘That has to be also part of it,’ McCain told ABC News’ Martha Raddatz on ‘This Week’ when asked whether a pathway to citizenship would be a component of reform. ‘There’s a new appreciation on both sides of the aisle including, maybe more importantly on the Republican side of the aisle, that we have to enact comprehensive immigration reform.’…Menendez, who met with President Obama on Friday along with other members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus leadership, said that the president expressed his full commitment to reform. ‘The president made it very clear in that discussion that this was a top legislative priority for him in this session of the Congress and that he expects to work with all of us in an effort to achieve that goal and he’s fully committed to it.’…On the politics of the issue, Menendez laid it out clearly: ‘First, Americans support it in poll after poll. Secondly, Latino voters expect it. Thirdly Democrats want it. And fourth Republicans need it,’ Menendez said.”
Also, on Fox News Sunday, Senator Dick Durbin, who is also one of the six Senators in the working group on immigration, said citizenship is a part of their plan. As reported by the Washington Post’s “The Fix” blog: “The Senate’s second-ranking Democrat said Sunday that a soon-to-be-introduced immigration reform measure will be a broad package that includes a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants. ‘We are committed to a comprehensive approach,’ Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said on ‘Fox News Sunday.’”
Read more: Lawmakers to press for driving licenses for illegals in Massachusetts
On NBC’s “Meet the Press”: Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) reiterated his support for Senator Marco Rubio’s set of principles on NBC’s “Meet the Press” this morning. According to a recap posted by NBC, “Ryan, who has praised a bipartisan set of immigration reforms offered by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, R, said he was cautiously optimistic about the prospects for immigration reform this year. But Ryan said that Democratic and Republican lawmakers alike would closely watch Obama's speech on Tuesday in Nevada on that topic.” While we welcome Ryan’s support for a pathway to legal status for the 11 million immigrants, the details behind Rubio’s plan remain unclear and the question of how long immigrants will have to wait in line for citizenship remains unanswered. When it comes to citizenship under Rubio’s proposal, the devil will be in the details.