By Seung Min Kim. Sen. Marco Rubio acknowledged Tuesday on a conservative radio talk show that the Gang of Eight’s comprehensive immigration reform bill won’t likely pass the Republican-led House.
The comments from Rubio, perhaps the most influential congressional Republican on immigration, illustrate the challenges facing the prospects for reform after months of private negotiations by a bipartisan coalition of senators produced a wide-ranging, 844-page bill.
“The bill that’s in place right now probably can’t pass the House,” Rubio told Mike Gallagher, a nationally syndicated talk show host. “It will have to be adjusted, because people are very suspicious about the willingness of the government to enforce the laws now.”
He continued: “That is a very legitimate suspicion, it’s one that I share, and if there’s anything we can do to make [the bill] even tighter … that’s exactly what we should be working on.”
In a separate radio appearance Tuesday, Rubio elaborated on the challenges facing the legislation in the House, saying the enforcement mechanisms in the Senate legislation would need to be much stronger in order to pass the lower chamber. Read more from this story HERE.
Push to Include Gay Couples in Immigration Bill
By Julia Preston. This has been a good year for gay rights advocates — with public opinion shifting in their favor and same-sex marriage advancing in the states — but not when it comes to immigration.
An 844-page bill introduced in the Senate in mid-April by a bipartisan group of eight lawmakers includes measures to make legal immigration easier for highly skilled immigrants, migrant farmworkers and those living here illegally. It has no provisions that would help foreigners who are same-sex partners of American citizens to become legal permanent residents.
Gay advocates were sharply disappointed to find that same-sex couples were excluded from the legislation, since the Democrats who wrote it included two of their most consistent champions, Senators Charles E. Schumer of New York and Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the second highest-ranking Senate Democrat. Senator Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, the Democrat who is chairman of the Judiciary Committee, where the bill is under consideration, has offered, since as far back as 2003, a separate measure that would allow immigrants in long-term same-sex relationships to obtain residency with a green card.
But in the lengthy closed-door negotiations that produced the overhaul proposal, the four Republicans in the bipartisan group made it clear early on that they did not want to include such a hot-button issue in a bill that would be a challenge to sell to their party even without it, according to Senate staff members. The Republicans are Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Jeff Flake and John McCain of Arizona, and Marco Rubio of Florida. Read more from this story HERE.
Gay rights push threatens immigration deal
By Carrie Budoff Brown. The most serious threat to bipartisan immigration reform doesn’t involve border security or guest workers or even the path to citizenship. It’s about gay rights.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has told advocates that he will offer an amendment during the bill markup next week allowing gay Americans to sponsor their foreign-born partners for green cards, just as heterosexual couples can. The measure is likely to pass because Democrats face pressure from gay rights advocates to deal with it in committee, rather than on the Senate floor, where the odds of passage are far less favorable.
But by doing so, Republicans warn that Democrats will tank the whole bill.
“It will virtually guarantee that it won’t pass,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a member of the Gang of Eight negotiating group, told POLITICO in a brief interview. “This issue is a difficult enough issue as it is. I respect everyone’s views on it. But ultimately, if that issue is injected into this bill, the bill will fail and the coalition that helped put it together will fall apart.”
As the legislation moves through the Judiciary Committee and on to the Senate floor, many people will make pronouncements about things that must be kept in or kept out of the bill — but few issues worry the Gang of Eight as much as same-sex partner rights. Read more from this story HERE.