Republicans gum up the works on immigration reform.

Today, the United States Senate will begin debate on the so-called comprehensive immigration plan. Senators will consider the overall legislation, and dozens of amendments, before a final vote can be reached. The debate is likely to last weeks, which means a decision may be delayed until after the Senate's Fourth of July recess.

A large portion of that delay will be the result of several “poison pill” amendments, like Sen. John Cornyn's border security benchmarks, and Sen. Rand Paul's provision, which “requires Congress to vote every year on border security.” Democratic Senators have called Cornyn's amendment “unfeasible”, because it requires 90 percent of all illegal border crossings to be stopped before any undocumented immigrant could even apply for legal status. Immigration advocates have called Senator Rand Paul's amendment “extremely problematic”, saying the requirement would mean a path to citizenship is subject to the partisan politics of future Congresses.

And Senators Cornyn and Paul aren't the only Republicans trying to gum up immigration reform. Senator Orrin Hatch will also offer an amendment to increase the number of H1B visas, and allow tech companies to hire immigrants directly, without having to search for American citizens willing to take those jobs. Senators Marco Rubio, Tom Coburn, and Lindsey Graham are also getting in on the action by demanding even stronger border security measures, and congressional control of a plan to secure our Southern border.

These “poison pill” amendments show that many Republican senators are determined to make citizenship – which they call amnesty – unattainable for the 11 million immigrants already living in our country. They include provisions in the legislation that doom it to failure, so they can try to convince Latino voters that it wasn't their fault if and when the immigration bill gets voted down. We'll have to wait and see if Democrats can defeat these poison-pill amendments, and start fixing our broken immigration system.


DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 50 weeks ago

Lord help me. I actually disagree with Thom Hartmann and agree with Senator Rand Paul. Is this a sign of the Apocalypse?

In short, this is not the time to discuss any form of Immigration Reform; except perhaps higher security. There is a sequence that must be followed to solve any complex problem. You don't change a light bulb if electricity goes out, you reset the circuit breaker or replace the fuse first. If the supply is good then you address the state of the bulb.

Immigration reform is a light bulb to our nation, not an energy source. Before addressing Immigration we have to resolve the critical issues related to our job crisis. Free trade has to take precedent over any legislation increasing labor supply in this country. Any attempt to ease Immigration and increase the labor supply without increasing jobs in a direct assault on the working class--citizen and non-citizen alike.

Sorry Thom, with all due respect--and I have much of that for you--I can't believe that someone as well informed as you and as conscientious as you would argue in the favor of this issue. It is ironic that such an argument would come from the source of a televised program called, "The Big Picture."

SHFabian's picture
SHFabian 9 years 50 weeks ago

One thing puzzles me: This generaton has stood against those pushed into poverty, and for immgrants. How will they stand with immigrants pushed into poverty? We're stuck wth reality -- not everyone can work, and there aren't jobs for all who need one. So, what should we do about those who fail to secure jobs? I know that middle classers like to say that immigrants "do the jobs that Americans refuse to take." Do they know that things have changed over the past 30 years, and a growing chunk of the population has no choice in the matter?

SHFabian's picture
SHFabian 9 years 50 weeks ago

That's sounds reasonable. But then consider how ths generation has suppported mandatory, super-cheap workfare replacement labor (enabling US corporations to enjoy high profits while the rest of the country is sinking). Who do they think is being replaced by cheap labor?

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 50 weeks ago

SHFabian ~ I think the "powers that be" have no concern over who is being replaced by cheap labor any more than they care about the source of this cheap labor. Their goal is simply to increase the labor pool which decreases the cost of labor. They don't care at all about the hardships encountered on the families of the laborers. All they care about is the bottom line and potential to increase profits. That is what we are up against an industrial machine devoid of conscious.

BMetcalfe's picture
BMetcalfe 9 years 50 weeks ago

Apparently these members of Congress think the people - the "dreamers" - upon whom we have spent taxpayer dollars to raise, keep healthy, and educate, aren't nearly as deserving as are the refugees of the Syrian War whom are being considered for Asylum, as we write. It makes far more sense to me (but who am I? Ah... just a lowly taxpayer who contributes to all their salaries.) for us to give the Dreamers and their families, along with the undocumented military people and their families, AMNESTY and a path to real Citizenship, than it does to let the State Department offer Asylum to a lot of people who fled Syria... people who, after coming here, will eventually have children who grow up to become Jihadists and try to kill Americans because we didn't intervene and help the rebels win, in the first place. Perhaps our poison-pill GOPs should reconsider their choices of people to allow into America. These Dreamers and military undocumented people are on OUR side, and they speak our language, have a value system in tune with America, and have no ties to Allah. They WANT to stay here, whereas the Syrian refugees would rather go home to their own country than be shuttled thousands of miles away to a hostile America who will never trust them, after the Boston bombings. Is Congress listening? Nah, didn't think so.

historywriter's picture
historywriter 9 years 50 weeks ago

Keeping immigrants "illegal" allows companies to hire these people at the lowest possible wages and with no benefits. They hire them anyway. The workers can't complain because they are illegal people -- undocumented -- and can't risk speaking up or trying to get higher wages and benefits.

Another corporate plot.

Kend's picture
Kend 9 years 50 weeks ago

In the 80's I applied for a US work visa for I oilfield job I Was offered in Texas and was turned down because a American could do that job. Why did things change, that seemed logical to me. Everyone should have to do What I did, follow the rules of your law and if you don't you should be deported. Why even a discussion?

BMetcalfe's picture
BMetcalfe 9 years 50 weeks ago

How much does anyone think it would cost the taxpayers to deport nearly 13 million illegal immigrnts? We've got preppers screaming that the government is going to send in the troops to round up everyone and take our guns, right now... Just what kind of damage does anyone think would be done to America if the govermnent sends enough troops into every town to root-out anyone who doesn't have papers? Do you really think those who already mistrust the government would wait to shoot just to see who the troops are cming to take away?!

Stop and think about that...

To the preppers, and anyone who thinks President Obama isn't a legally born American President, or to anyone else who is simply swayed by the hysterical rantings of the few who don't believe paying taxes is legal, then what will we have? I'll tell you; another CIVIL WAR. Does anyone in this forum really think a Civil War will help any one of us? It only takes a few - righteous or insane - to bring this country down to a point where another world power - China OR Russia - can make a deal with one side or the other to lend a hand, and then march in and take over all of us. We may not have a perfect Union, but we all know that perfection is something we always strive for, but never can attain.

Those who are here illegally are already working for peanuts with no raises or benefits. But the Dreamers, with their dual language skills and aspirations - and the ones who have chosen to fight for this country even though they're undocumented - should come first on the list... If you'd rather ship out the indocumented, and allow the State Department to bring in people who feel NO loyalty to America, and allow large corporations to bring in foreignors from Asian countries to fill jobs the Dreamers and other Americans really CAN fill, go ahead and make your own future misery.

dr818dr's picture
dr818dr 9 years 50 weeks ago

A true liberal and I've been one for over 40 years could never support this bill. We are against jobs being outsourced for cheap labor costs but now we are okay with illegal aliens (sorry but that is the legal term) staying and bringing in more for cheap labor and to lower wages. We are against subsidizing big oil but we're okay with subsidizing agro-business, construction and the hospitality industry. We believe in fairness, punishing criminals (although we didn't with the banksters) yet we will allow people who broke the law to stay here and get what they wanted all along. Let's be honest. This is about votes for the Dems and cheap labor for the Repubs. Nothing more, nothing less. We're being lied to by Schummer and Durbin. No one will pay back taxes, very few will pay fines and no one will go through "extensive" background checks. Penalties on business will be minimal and the whole process will start over again. There is no reason to "round them up" as the proper policies will make them self-deport. Yes, Romney was a turd but he was right on this. As it is many did self-deport from 2009-2011 when they couldn't find jobs. The illegal aliens aren't the villions in this process, it's our worthless politicians on both sides. As a lifelong liberal I'm ashamed of the people in the Democratic Party who call themselves the same.

Sorry Thom. You're hardly ever wrong but you are this time.

dr818dr's picture
dr818dr 9 years 50 weeks ago

How much does anyone think it would cost the taxpayers to deport nearly 13 million illegal immigrnts?

A whole lot less than keeping them here and bringing in another 10-15 million over the next 10 years.

I really have nothing agaianst these people who just want a better life but unfotunately they can't have a better life without all of the cost being borne by the poor and middle class. I would bet that the real number is somewhere north of 15 million and almost all of them are living barely above subsistence level. How can integrating 15 or so million people, most living below the poverty level, into our society that today wants to cut back on entitlements and safety net programs possibly be invigorating to our economy?

Unlike tax breaks and even wars that eventually can change or end once we do immigration "reform" there is no going back. It's irreversable.

wolfdogscott's picture
wolfdogscott 9 years 50 weeks ago

There are many of us who are conflicted about the idea of increasing the labor supply by 11 million workers , while at the same time doing nothing about the ' insane trade and tax policies ' that have shipped jobs from inside the American borders to the cheaper labor countries . Can these two issues be considered seperately?

The problem of the economy functioning to provide living wage jobs for all workers , says that it is economic reality to keep the product of American workers , in the USA ... even if they are illegally hired workers .... but those illegal workers should not be regarded as new-age slave workers here just to provide big returns for business owners.

The RepubliCons' claim to want ' border security ' is a cover to continue a stream of low wage workers as a culture they are comfortable with historicly. The idea that this low wage culture should be allowed to vote , eventually is the end of the Republicans power to continue their brand of wealth shifting from workers to their vested interests. My advice to Republican ' leaders ' : Get a real JOB and see what it is like !

bobcox's picture
bobcox 9 years 50 weeks ago

I keep hearing that one of the things the GOP wants is for candidates for citizenship to pay back taxes. All individuals being paid wages in the US are subject to withholding taxes, including Social Security FICA taxes as well as any state withholding taxes and if there are any back taxes unpaid it is the fault of the employer, not the undocumented worker!

akunard's picture
akunard 9 years 50 weeks ago

Have you ever wondered why there is NO PENALTY for hireing and screwing over illegalls?

Mgschmid1's picture
Mgschmid1 9 years 50 weeks ago

Illegal workers should be e-verified and identified. I am an immigrant (legal) and when my fathers requested to live here, he was first denied. He had to prove he had a sponsor and would not use the welfare system of our country. He came to this country and never took a dime that he didn't earn himself.

Mgschmid1's picture
Mgschmid1 9 years 50 weeks ago

Cheap labor and Political recruits.

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