Yesterday, Bryan complained that I didn’t put the IRS official taking the Fifth on my Virtual Front Page. I explained that that had been big news the night before, not on Wednesday.
Which reminds me… There’s something else that sort of fell between the cracks — the Senate Judiciary Committee’s passage Tuesday night of the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill:
A Senate committee approved a sweeping immigration reform bill Tuesday that would provide a path to citizenship for up to 11 million illegal immigrants, setting the stage for the full Senate to consider the landmark legislation next month.
After five days of debate over dozens of amendments, the Judiciary Committee voted 13 to 5 in support of the bill, with three Republicans joining the committee’s 10 Democrats. The legislation emerged with its core provisions largely intact, including new visa programs for high-tech and low-skilled workers and new investments in strengthening border control…
Late as this is, I wanted to take note of it. Because it’s what Joe Biden would call a BFD. Or, in more polite language, “sweeping” and “landmark.”
Some notes about developments since Tuesday night:
- John Boehner, with zampolit Eric Cantor’s concurrence, said today the House isn’t just going to pass the Senate bill, whatever emerges from the Senate. Because, you know, his caucus is et up with Tea Party types these days, which means the speaker can’t just say he’ll do the reasonable thing on immigration.
- Further complicating Boehner’s life is the fact that, according to a new poll, 58 percent of Americans favor a “path to citizenship” for current illegals. Of course, his Tea Party members couldn’t care less about what America as a whole wants; they only have to please the portions of their gerrymandered districts who vote in GOP primaries. This could present problems down the line for the Republican Party, if the Senate passes something like the current bill and the House doesn’t also pass something very like it.
- Here’s a quick overview of the bill, from The Washington Post.
By the way, I should probably share with you this release that I got from Lindsey Graham a few hours before the bill passed Judiciary:
WASHINGTON – Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed three amendments introduced by U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina).
The Graham Amendments to the bipartisan Senate immigration bill would:
- · Require Extra Background Checks for Aliens from Dangerous Countries. The Graham Amendment requires additional background checks be performed on aliens petitioning for legalization that come from countries or regions the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of State determine represent a threat to the national security of the United States.
- · Close a Potentially Dangerous Loophole in our Asylum and Refugee Program. Another Graham Amendment would terminate an individual’s asylum or refugee status in most cases where the person returns to his or her home country. The amendment would limit the ability of those seeking asylum in the United States to travel back to their home country without approval from the Secretary of Homeland Security or Attorney General.
- · Toughen Up on Visa Overstays. About 40 percent of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants did not illegally come across the border but simply overstayed their legal visas. A third Graham Amendment requires visa overstay information collected under a new integrated mandatory exit system be shared with federal law enforcement, intelligence, and national security agencies and that the Secretary of DHS use that information to locate and remove aliens unlawfully present.
Lindsey is working hard to simultaneously accomplish his two conflicting purposes:
- To pass a rational comprehensive immigration bill.
- To persuade portions of his base that even though he is pushing a rational immigration bill, he’s still being really, really tough on them furriners.