The Senate’s Gang of 8 has a message for the House: The hopes of millions of illegal immigrants are on your shoulders

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who served four terms in the House, said: “To our friends in the House: I understand that you have a different approach. Speak with your voice. Speak in a way that you feel comfortable. Just don’t ignore the issue.”

Added Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., “We stand ready to sit down and negotiate with you.”

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Immigration “reform” passed the Senate Thursday, 68 to 32. At first glance, this is the most votes any major immigration bill has gotten. In 1986, reform passed 62-24, and in 2006, it passed 62-36.

But when you dig deeper into the numbers, you’ll find that support among Senate Republicans has fallen dramatically this time. In 1986, 29 Republicans voted for the immigration bill, which, history has shown, granted amnesty to illegal immigrants but never secured the border. In 2006, border security was promised again, but this time 23 Republicans voted for the bill.

Flash forward to today, when just 14 Senate Republicans voted for the 1,200-page immigration bill.

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Following the passage of the Senate immigration bill Thursday, Gang of Eight member Sen. Robert Menendez stated on Hardball that Speaker John Boehner should not insist on getting a majority of Republicans in the House to vote for immigration reform legislation.

Menendez maintained that the House “can have its own process,” but then argued that applying the Hastert Rule to this issue would be, frankly, undemocratic. “If you insist on a majority of the majority, as Speaker Boehner has said, that is a minority,” the New Jersey senator explained, and “a minority should not dictate the future of millions of lives of people in this country.”

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I’m listening to America’s Great Debate, about the Compromise of 1850, and I’m struck by how pedestrian and foolish the Senate has become — not in the substance of the policies debated, which are not comparable between the periods, but in the debate itself. The closing comments on the Schumer-Rubio bill were mostly treacly clichés about the speaker’s parents or grandparents or in-laws, and how their experience is an argument for the Crabhusker Kickback Bill of 2013. And the invocation of the DREAMers was particularly tendentious — what does the experience of someone brought here at the age of 6 months have to do with this monster bill? You want to amnesty people like that? Well, so do I, as part of a wider bill to tighten enforcement. But their constant use as props for those arguing for a mass amnesty is morally dubious, the kind of emotional blackmail we’ve come to expect from the open-borders side (both left and right).

In any case, it’s now the House’s job to allow this bloated, dangerous measure to die on the vine. Unfortunately, the decision about what happens next rests almost entirely on the shoulders of John Boehner.

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House Republicans are unmoved by the sense of urgency projected by immigration reform advocates. “The bottom line is it’s been since 1986 that there was legislation related to immigration reform. I don’t know what a couple more months is going to hurt,” said Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., who chairs the House Judiciary Committee’s Immigration Subcommittee…

Immigration-reform advocates are preparing to blame the House Republicans for blocking the Senate’s legislation if they fail to pass an immigration bill that would allow a House-Senate conference committee. If the House doesn’t pass legislation, activists will likely turn their attention to the administration next year, asking for more deferrals of deportation along the lines of last year’s deferred action program for “Dreamers,” unauthorized youth who were brought to the country as kids.

“The irony is that if House Republicans block immigration reform, in hopes of thwarting Obama and getting a bill more to their liking in the future, they will give Obama a chance to go down in history as the great emancipator of Latino immigrants,” said America’s Voice Executive Director Frank Sharry. “A future Democratic Congress and president will be able to pass reform with a path to citizenship without giving nearly as much as they’re prepared to give this year.”

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What are your thoughts on Corker-Hoeven?

[Paul Ryan:] They’re moving closer to the House position. I haven’t read the full thing so I really don’t know how – it’s a pretty big amendment. I’ve been more focused on what we’re doing over here in the House. But I think it’s good that they’re moving closer to our position, which is, we have to have actual border enforcement.

To me, you can’t leave it up to subjective judgment of the executive branch, you have to have actual metrics that constitute what we believe defines border enforcement and those metrics have to be put in triggers and you also have to have E-Verify triggers. That’s the kind of language that the gang of seven have been negotiating successfully. That’s the kind of language that we’re talking about over here in the House. That’s the kind of language that people like Goodlatte agree with. So that’s where I see common ground and I see the House making a big improvement on this thing.

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“Where is this national push? Are people rioting in the streets for immigration reform? It’s so odd in a way that it has achieved this level of attention and involvement,” Tancredo said in an interview Wednesday. “I would be hesitant to bring up any bill simply because of what would happen in a conference committee.”

House Speaker Boehner said Thursday that any bill to hit the House floor would need support from a majority of the Republican Conference, both before and after a conference committee. But Tancredo, who made his name in Washington as an anti-illegal immigration crusader, said he didn’t trust Boehner to appoint the right members to the bicameral panel tasked with reconciling the two bills.

“A bill comes from the Senate. It’s lousy. The Republicans go ‘Oh, this is terrible, so we’ll write our own bill.’ And it’ll be a much better bill. It goes to conference and [Boehner] appoints squishy Republicans to the conference committee. The bill comes back looking just like the Senate bill, or something pretty close. A whole bunch of Republicans can drop off at that point, going, ‘Oh, this is terrible.’ But they’ll have enough squishes to join with Dems to pass it,” Tancredo said.

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The rumors of the demise of Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio’s presidential prospects in Iowa as a result of his role in crafting immigration reform are somewhat exaggerated, said Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley on Thursday…

“It’s pretty hard for me to tell you three years out,” he said, speaking to the press just 40 minutes before the Senate was set to vote on the comprehensive immigration reform bill crafted by the bipartisan Gang of Eight, a group of which Rubio is a part. “It may influence some people right now, but right now is not 2016.”

“And I think people then are going to be looking at how can we win the White House,” he continued. “That’s going to be the most important thing.”

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After U.S. Vice President announces immigration reform has passed the Senate, the gallery cheered “yes we can.”

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Despite Paul’s disappointment in his colleagues in the passing of the bill, he seems to hold no grudge against the big-name Republicans who voted ‘yea,’ such as Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

“I think [Rubio’s] well-intentioned and I think he’s trying to do the right thing and so I don’t impute to him ill motives. I think his motives are genuine, he wants to do what a lot of us want to do and that’s fix the illegal immigration problem. I disagree with the final bill, but I think good people can honestly have disagreements,” he said.