President Obama celebrated his political triumph over the end of the government shudtdown by urging Congress to confront the nation’s challenges and announcing that he will put pressure on Capitol Hill to pass comprehensive immigration reform.
It remains to be seen whether the White House will actually make a convincing push towards immigration reform at Congress and whether or not such an effort would end up in a reenactment of the shutdown standoff.
In June, the Senate approved a bill overhauling the immigration system and throwing billions of dollars into a dubiously efficient strengthening of U.S. border security. The bill also provides a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants, something that faces staunch opposition among the Tea Party Republicans in Congress.
The next 60 days offer a short window of opportunity to achieve some sort of agreement in the House of Representatives to pass that bill a the House, where a group has been working out a bipartisan proposal for months. However, both Speaker Boehner and other GOP leaders have already said that they would likely support a piecemeal approach to reform, the same approach Republicans tried unsuccessfully as a way around the shutdown gridlock.
Other Republicans outside of Congress continue to work on some blueprint for a bipartisan bill, as USAToday' Alan Gomez reports:
Members of the Bipartisan Policy Center praised the work done on a sweeping immigration bill that passed the Senate in June and said the House is making good progress of its own. They released a set of recommendations Thursday that they say brings together concepts embraced by members in both chambers. "You've got a pretty broad range of views represented, and yet we find that it is possible to find common ground," said Michael Chertoff, who was secretary of Homeland Security under Republican President George W. Bush.The group is led by two Republicans -- former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour -- and two Democrats -- former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Henry Cisneros and former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell. The main recommendations released by the group focus on border security, a pathway to citizenship for the nation's 11million undocumented immigrants and changing the nation's legal immigration system.In many cases, they combine ideas embraced by the Democrat-controlled Senate and the Republican-controlled House. The group's recommendations state that "national security depends on America's ability to enforce its immigration laws at the border." The Senate bill would send nearly 20,000 more Border Patrol agents to the nation's southwest border to help do that.
Gómez also sounds the cautionary note:
Ira Mehlman of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which opposes the Senate bill and advocates for lower levels of legal and illegal immigration, said the inclusion of a couple of Republicans in the Bipartisan Policy Center does not mean that its recommendations reflect the thinking of conservatives around the country.