Mintuteman Founder Jim Gilchrist Rejects Immigration Compromise
By: Minuteman Media
As advocates for immigration reform marched at sites across the country Tuesday, their protests were aimed squarely at Capitol Hill, where lawmakers have been struggling, without success, to come up with a compromise on the contentious issue.
The White House and key lawmakers have been urgently negotiating for nearly a month, trying to come up with a new way forward, but, so far, the only agreement out of those talks is how hard it is to agree.
Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, who co-authored an immigration reform plan that stalled in the last Congress, said the negotiations in recent weeks “have not been easy.”
Ironically, immigration reform is one of the few issues where President Bush and Democratic leaders in Congress generally see eye-to-eye — to the consternation of many conservatives in Bush’s own political base.
Bush and most Democrats support creating a guest worker program and a path to citizenship for the estimated 12 million immigrants already in the country illegally. But many in the GOP fiercely oppose those proposals, labeling any legalization plan as “amnesty.”
To try to alleviate some of that conservative opposition bipartisan negotiators are considering a compromise — a so-called trigger — under which a guest worker program and a path to citizenship would only kick in after the Bush administration showed progress in securing borders and enforcing immigration laws.
The hope is that this would help increase support among House Republicans, who successfully killed immigration reform last year.
However, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has told the White House that she will not bring an immigration bill to the House floor unless the president can deliver at least 70 GOP votes.
A Democratic source said Pelosi wants enough Republican support to give the proposal a true bipartisan label and make it harder for Republicans to use it against Democrats in 2008.