So the public’s feelings are pretty clear: Security first. But that does not appear to be a major concern of the Gang of Eight. When the Senate Judiciary Committee was considering amendments to the bill recently, Republican Charles Grassley offered an amendment specifying that applications for legalization be considered only after the secretary of Homeland Security certified that the government “has maintained effective control of the southern border for a period of not less than six months.”
The gang closed ranks against Grassley, with Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham and Jeff Flake joining unanimous Democrats to vote the amendment down. Their message was unmistakable: In this immigration proposal, legalization comes first, and enhanced security comes later. Now that the bill has cleared the Judiciary Committee, the gang will no doubt hang just as tough when the issue inevitably comes up in the full Senate.
Graham and Flake, along with fellow Gang Republicans Marco Rubio and John McCain, have undoubtedly felt some heat for opposing something that 82 percent of Republicans support. But they are sticking with Sen. Charles Schumer and other Democrats, who view any change to legalization-first as a deal killer. Take it out, and the gang’s carefully-crafted agreement is off.
The situation is far different in the House. Talk to the average GOP lawmaker, and he or she will say security simply must come first