I’ve now got clarification from Senate staff working on the bill, and it turns out that the enforcement commission’s judgments will only be advisory, and are entirely nonbinding. Congress’ actions will not be dictated by what this commission concludes; neither will actions taken by the Department of Homeland Security. The citizenship process will be triggered by other means (more on this soon).

This is central to the debate. If this commission had the power to dictate when the citizenship process begins, it could endanger the entire enterprise by giving people like Jan Brewer veto power. Second, this enforcement commission is being seen as a major concession Republicans won in exchange for agreeing to grant citizenship to the 11 million.

But the commission isn’t, for all practical purposes, really a major concession at all. If you look at the framework released by the bipartisan group of eight Senators today, it never quite says directly that the citizenship process can’t move forward until the commission reaches its findings. Rather, it says the plan creates a commission that will make a “recommendation” on when border security has been achieved, and doesn’t specify that this recommendation is what triggers the citizenship process…

It appear that there are some divisions within the bipartisan group of Senators over this point. For instance, Senator Marco Rubio — who is supported by the Tea Party — is not prepared to say that the commission’s role is purely advisory