Looks like it’s pretty pro-DREAM on balance, too:
2 p.m. The House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing in 2141 Rayburn entitled “Addressing the Immigration Status of Illegal Immigrants Brought to the U.S. as Children.” On the first panel will be Representatives Jeff Denham, Mike Coffman, Cory Gardner and Luis Gutierrez.
Speakers on the second panel include Barrett Duke, vice president for public policy and research and director of the research institute at The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention; Margie McHugh, MPI co-director at the National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy; Pam Rivera, U.S. citizen sister of a Dreamer; and Rosa Velazquez, executive director of Arkansas Coalition for DREAM.
The guy to watch there is the verrry amnesty-friendly Luis Gutierrez, as he’s a a member of the House’s “Gang of Seven.” Democrats don’t want to be put on the spot by having the House pass a path to citizenship for DREAMers but not for anyone else, since that would force Reid and Schumer to choose between killing DREAM themselves in the Senate or accepting half a loaf on legalization instead of the whole loaf they want. That’s what makes Gutierrez an X factor. If he testifies in favor of DREAM, it gives the GOP some extra cover to go small on amnesty.
I’m convinced that Republicans are going to line up for some sort of targeted legalization like this, if only to deny the left an easy “they screwed Latinos again!” talking point for the midterms, but I was surprised by how much pushback there was last week to Boehner saying that it’s time to do something for young illegals. Apparently there’s pushback in the caucus too:
“While I think there’s a lot of folks over here that are sympathetic to that notion,” [Rep. Matt Salmon] said of the Kids Act, “it’s also not going to come without a lot of political angst, and I don’t know why we would go through that if Reid says and the president says it’s dead on arrival, and they’re not interested in us doing it.”
Rep. John Fleming (R-La.) said he would not support legislation that grants legal status to any illegal immigrants before border security bills are not just passed by the House but fully enacted into law.
“My position is, first things first,” he said. “Again, we have not fixed a broken border system that has been broken for decades, and to me, our focus needs be on solving that problem first. And then we’ve got plenty of time to get around to those other issues.”
Conservative Reps. Tom Price (R-Ga.) and Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) said they’d have to read the proposal but put themselves in the “border security first” camps.
If nothing else, calling it the “Kids Act” is some shrewd branding by Cantor. His chief obstacle isn’t that the caucus is intractably opposed on the merits, I think, but rather that some of them are suspicious that if they pass anything, the conference with the Senate is going to produce a compromise bill that somehow reeks even worse than the Schumer/Rubio concoction in the Senate. There’s no way the Dems will agree to a truly limited amnesty; they might agree to something like “DREAM Plus,” let’s call it, where younger illegals gain a path to citizenship after some border improvements are made and then there are separate triggers down the line to amnestize the rest of the population. Would the House GOP agree to that? No. Would Boehner agree to that and decide to break the Hastert Rule one last time in order to bring the bill to the floor? He was scrupulously vague about the prospects for reform in the House on CBS yesterday. Assume nothing, my friends.
In other news, McCain’s decided that co-drafting a terrible bill isn’t enough and therefore it’s his duty to rally amnesty lobbyists to spend the next few weeks leaning on House Republicans to come up with something nearly as terrible as he did. Exit quotation: “Here is a fact: We are not winning.”
Update: No dice, say DREAM advocates. They want a total amnesty, not something for the kids.
“We will not stand for anything that separates our families,” said Greisa Martinez, an organizer with United We Dream, the largest group representing young unauthorized immigrants who have lived in America since they were children. Martinez’s mother crossed over to Texas from Mexico illegally to seek work when Martinez was just 2 months old. “For someone to ask me to leave [my mother] behind, to say she’s unworthy of citizenship, it’s un-American,” Martinez said…
United We Dream voted as a group in September to reject any immigration reform bill that does not offer a pathway to citizenship to most of the country’s undocumented, saying it will take all or nothing. Cristina Jimenez, United We Dream’s managing director, told reporters on a conference call on Monday that she was “outraged” by the Kids Act, which she said would “condemn our parents and our families to second-class status.”
Is that what Gutierrez is planning to say tomorrow?