You can't blame both sides equally for the death of comprehensive immigration reform this year in Washington, DC. After all, Republicans in the Democrat-led Senate barely backed a bipartisan bill (and Sen. Marco Rubio was raked over the far-right coals for helping usher it). And in the GOP-led House, conservative Republicans have blocked a hearing on the Senate bill or the issue.
But still, Democrats bear some blame.
A must-read article from The Hill lays out what happened behind the scenes. It points out that the White House and Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer tried in May to stop a bipartisan House bill from moving because, in their view, it endangered the Senate bill.
Guess who was identified with gumming it up at the time? Rep. Xavier Becerra, who belongs to the same delegation as Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi.
We noted Becerra's purported sand-in-the-gears role at the time, and refused to comment. Afterward, he denied the reports but refused to elaborate. Update: Becerra's spokesman James Gleeson wanted the following statement added (note: It says I "accuse Becerra of gumming up the works." That's inaccurate. As you see, the post above says Becerra "was identified with gumming it up at the time."):
"For an unbiased reporter to accuse Congressman Becerra of ‘gumming up’ negotiations is an odd way to describe what he did in consulting with the very people on whose behalf he was negotiating and doing so before committing them to a position. As Marc Caputo himself acknowledges there's more nuance to the situation than some would admit to passing comprehensive immigration reform in the House."
Intriguingly, immigration-reform advocates didn't tweet out the above-mentioned blog post or mention it en masse at all. And today, it's the same story with what The Hill wrote.
But when Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (who would probably vote to pass the Senate bill if it came up for a vote) noted that time has expired this year in the House for the issue, he was excoriated by some on the left. One columnist in the hill called him the "Latino face of GOP's immigration reform blockade."
Perhaps today's Hill article might change a few minds about the issue, or at least show that there's more nuance than some advocates would admit.
It’s all but guaranteed: Immigration reform is dead for 2013.
The Republican-controlled House has refused to take up the bipartisan Democratic-controlled Senate bill that passed earlier this year. And now time has essentially run out.
“I don’t see the math. There are only 16 days, legislative days, for the floor,” said Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, a leading Republican immigration-reformer in the House.
“Unless someone has some magic potion," he said. "I don’t see how there’s time to go through the committee process and through the floor with what could ultimately be six or nine bills.”
Sen. Marco Rubio, who helped write the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill, has shifted back to his original position that piecemeal legislation is the way forward.
“We’ve been lectured for the better part of a month now how we need to be realistic, that Barack Obama was not going to repeal Obamacare,” Rubio said in an interview with the Tampa Bay Times. “Likewise, I think supporters of immigration reform need to be realistic. The House is just not going to jump on board whatever the Senate passes.”
That’s been evident for months. But in recent interviews Rubio has sounded more distant from the Senate legislation. On CNN on Friday, a casual viewer could have assumed he had nothing to do with it – the Florida Republican referring to what the “whatever the Democrats in the Senate are demanding.”
Rubio even opposes using the Senate bill as a negotiating point in a conference if the House can manage to pass a limited bill.
In East Room event, Obama jumps into immigration reform Thursday. Does this mean it's dead or alive?
Earlier this year, immigration reform leaders in the U.S. House like Republican Mario Diaz-Balart wanted the president to keep quiet about the issue as they grappled with it.
But they grappled. And they grappled. And they grappled.
And still there is no bill (but there is no shortage of finger-pointing). But there is a lot of fear among Republicans.
Many watched what happened to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio when he helped craft and pass a bipartisan immigration-reform bill in the Senate, only to have the tea party and right-wing media elite tear him up.Now the president is ready to put his weight behind the issue and plans to hold a 10:35 a.m. East Room address calling on Congress to pass immigration reform.
Two initial takeaways about the politics of it all:
Rep. Joe Garcia became the third Miami congressman this year to
play a major role in the nation’s immigration debate when he joined
House Democrats on Wednesday to unveil a bipartisan plan that includes a
pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants.
But unlike Miami U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, Garcia isn’t a Republican.
And the bill Garcia and fellow Democrats are pushing has so little chance of passing right now that, coupled with the all-Democrat cast that unveiled the proposal, the legislation is perceived on Capitol Hill to be more of a political play to pressure stalling House Republicans.
The Democrats' legislation combines a Senate bill, passed with Rubio’s help, as well as a Republican border-security measure that passed a House committee.
“We put them both together,” Garcia said. “We’re not introducing the perfect bill. We’re introducing a comprehensive reform bill that provides that space for compromise.”
Miami's Joe Garcia looks like he might be taking a leading role in a House Democrats' plan that they'll discuss tomorrow in a DC press conference.
It's unclear what Garcia and unspecified "House Democratic leaders" and members plan to discuss at noon, but the caucus has already started pushing plans now that efforts of a bipartisan group have stalled in the House. Two leaders of that effort were Garcia's Miami colleague, Miami Republican Mario Diaz-Balart, and Illinois Democrat Luis Gutierrez.
If Garcia takes a leadership role, he'll be the third active Miami congressman to tackle the national issue behind Diaz-Balart and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, who helped pass a bipartisan Senate plan that the House refused to consider.
Nineteen college and university presidents from Florida are calling on Congress to revamp the country's immigration policies.
"As leaders of Florida’s universities and colleges, educating the next generation of entrepreneurs, scientists, and global pioneers, we call on you to address a critical threat to America's preeminence as the center of innovation and prosperity: our inability under current United States immigration policy to retain and capitalize on the talented individuals we are training in our universities and colleges," they wrote in a letter to the Florida delegation.
The presidents added: "Fixing our immigration system will be critical to scientific growth at Florida’s universities and economic growth in our state. In 2009, 53 percent of the students earning Master’s or PhDs in STEM fields from Florida’s research-intensive universities were temporary residents, a group with no clear path to stay in America after graduation. More than 60 percent of our students earning engineering PhDs in recent years were also non-citizens."
Signees included University of Miami President Donna Shalala, Miami Dade College President Eduardo Padron, Florida International University President Mark Rosenberg, Barry University President Linda Bevilacqua, St. Thomas University President Frank Casale and Florida Memorial University President Roslyn Artis.
If the Dream Act ever had a public face, it belonged to Juan Gomez.
Weeks after his 2007 graduation from Killian Senior High, the undocumented teen was rounded up by immigration officials and nearly deported to his native Colombia.
His classmates launched a social media campaign to keep him in the country — and lawmakers took unprecedented steps to make it happen. Gomez later won a full scholarship to Georgetown University and landed a top-paid job with JPMorgan Chase in New York City. He told his story on Capitol Hill to advocate for the Dream Act, a proposed bill that would provide undocumented young adults with a pathway to citizenship.
But Gomez’s own pathway came to an abrupt end last month, after his temporary work permit expired and the application he filed for a new one got tied up in a deluge of similar requests from other young immigrants.
Unemployed and needing to support his parents, the 24-year old had little choice but to leave the United States. Today, he’s working for an investment firm in São Paulo, Brazil, with little chance of ever returning to the United States.
For Gomez, the American dream got derailed.
Sen. Marco Rubio's just-released interview with Jan Crawford on CBS This Morning was a lot like the spread of him and his family in PARADE magazine this week: A public-relations coup.
It's another sign of how the Republican is making major strides in the mainstream media after the conservative opinionati attacked him over immigration reform. Whatever Rubio might have lost on Breitbart or in Human Events, he has made up for umpteen-fold on CBS, PARADE and (in between) on CNN.
If folks thinks he's not going to be formidable in 2016, the past few days of fawning coverage should help put the lie to that.
Indeed, as immigration fades as an issue, the conservative criticism appears to be as well. And so has critical coverage. Rubio doesn't just command attention from the northeast media elite, he can command his own set of facts that aren't quite true and that aren't really questioned.
Consider his statement about his support of immigration reform, which he called "consistent." Rubio hasn't been. Rubio has been consistent -- but only in his inconsistency when it comes to a pathway to citizenship, immigration reform's sticking point. The background is here, here and everywhere.
The rest of Rubio's quote on immigration is perhaps more illuminating: "it's a long game, not a short game."
It's little wonder, then, that CBS called the piece "Rubio Reset."
Yup, and with still-solid numbers of Republicans behind him and major news coverage before him, Rubio has loads of persuadable voters he can gobble up in the middle. Details like his flip-flops on immigration reform probably matter less to a majority of voters than the fact that he compromised on an important issue and reached across the aisle.
Look out, Hillary Clinton, Rubio knows how to work a camera and he knows his facts when it comes to foreign policy.
And now that President Obama's foreign policy is reaching a low point in the polls, Rubio is making sure to remind people that the former secretary of state was the "architect" of the "colossal failure."
Here's the transcript: