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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

A PIECE OF ADVICE FOR THE DEMOCRATS

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I've had this little idea floating around for the last few months, but dared not reveal it until McCain locked up the nomination. I think you'll understand why when you read further.



John McCain is still supporting comprehensive immigration reform and just recently told Tim Russert of NBC that he believes the bill bearing his name was correct two years ago and he would vote for it if he had the opportunity today. I believe him.



Let's just suppose Majority Leader Harry Reid and Speaker Nancy Pelosi decided to bring back the 2006 version of the comprehensive immigration reform bill - the good one - and schedule it for, let's say, a good several weeks of very public debate this spring or summer in each House. Do you think the GOP is going to allow their rank and file members to attack their nominee day in day out over the immigration issue? If they do, the results could be disastrous as McCain will be going around the country trying to unite a very fractured party that is already pretty suspicious of his conservative bona fides. Can you imagine one Republican after another having to come to the microphone to denounce the McCain-Kennedy bill (and that's what Reid and Pelosi need to call it every chance they get)? And then McCain being dogged by reporters asking about it multiple times each day?



The Democrats are fretting today about continuing their internal fighting all the way to the convention and McCain having a basically free pass to go out and rally support. But throwing the immigration "grenade" and stirring up the immigration storm in the GOP may make the Democrats bickering look pretty tame.



So how might the grown ups in the GOP prevent this nightmare scenario from playing out? I think what you might see is a sudden willingness to work a deal quickly and behind the scenes and largely on the Democrats' terms. Aside from protecting their nominee, some of the GOP leaders are probably starting to ask the question of why McCain was able to get the nomination if the anti-immigration issue was so potent. Maybe Republicans are safer on this issue than they thought and don't have to worry quite so much about taking a moderate immigration position. 



While the Democrats might have been timid about this issue given how things went last summer when it looked like they could be seriously hurt, a few months is an eternity in politics. Bringing back immigration reform would have virtually no drawbacks now and could reap major rewards, both political (if McCain is seriously damaged or distracted) and substantive (if immigration reform actually passed).



Just wanted to throw that out there....



[UPDATE: It also occurs to me that McCain will be in a pickle if he tries to nuance or change his position and talk about "enforcement first" since he now has to convince Hispanic voters not to abandon the GOP as polls are suggesting they are doing in droves].

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  1. George Chell's Avatar
    This tactic would help the Democrats if the bill does indeed pass this year which is not a sure thing. If it does not pass and Obama or Clinton become President, the GOP would never let them pass any immigration bill and the House and Senate would return to GOP and the anti-immigration activists led by Sensenbrenner in 2010. I think the best thing to hope for is a McCain Presidency with 56-57 Democrats in the Senate and another 10-12 seat gain in the House. Then it would have a good chance of passing in 2009. If it still does not pass in 2009, the Dems will gain more seats in the Senate in 2010 and the legislation will pass in 2011.
  2. Rove's Avatar
    This is what Karl Rove would have done. But Looks like McCain is already trying to have it both ways on the issue. He will now say "BS(border security) first" and will vote no.
  3. legal forever waiting forever's Avatar
    they can always offer to the add border security provisions that he wants and call his bluff on it...

    better still Obama/Clinton can propose them and steal his thunder
  4. Another voice's Avatar
    We would also have to consider all of those Republican House and Senate members that are retiring, they could embrace this idea to give McCain a better chance and put this to sleep(Immigration) since they do not care about political price or they could just not do anything to be able to say they did not pass Amnesty on my watch. I like the theory is a good one!!!
  5. Another voice's Avatar
    This could also give McCain a chance to steal the minority(Hispanic, Asian, etc..) vote in the election or at least compete for it.
  6. George Chell's Avatar
    More delusion...

    http://vdare.com/guzzardi/080206_amnesty.htm

    In the past this guy had complained about too many white men taking Asian mail order brides.
  7. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    >>This is what Karl Rove would have done. But Looks like McCain is already trying to have it both ways on the issue. He will now say "BS(border security) first" and will vote no.
  8. R. Lawson's Avatar
    They won't touch immigration with a 10 foot stick. Trust me, not a subject they want to debate this year (either party).

    Also, if you had the debate now McCain would probably be less prone to anything considered amnesty and more conservative on immigration. He is trying to get a lock on the conservative vote and the independent vote - two groups who want more restrictions on immigration.

    In short, I think your plan would backfire. I don't think it would help either party right now. Also, I don't think we should be having such an important debate during such a politically sensitive time. We need to have it at a time when the issue can be considered thoughtfully and not let partisan politics and national elections interfere.
  9. Another voice's Avatar
    "He is trying to get a lock on the conservative vote and the independent vote - two groups who want more restrictions on immigration."

    People who align themselves with this idealogy are stuck with him anyway because they have no other choice Barak or Hillary are way more liberal on Immigration.

    "I don't think it would help either party right now." I agree with you but I bet that both parties would just love for this thing to go away and start the new administration without this to deal with.
  10. George Chell's Avatar
    Look at this nutmeg from Colorado railing against both legal and illegal immigration. He thinks the Americans are brain dead.

    http://www.borderfirereport.net/frosty-wooldridge/senator-john-mccain-and-brain-dead-american-voters.html

    Perhaps Mr. Wooldridge, Americans dont want to pay $5/lb for tomatos or $10 per head of lettuce? May be you are a millionaire and you can afford to pay that, but many Americans are loosing their house and are bankrupt and cannot afford the price of tomato or lettuce as it is right now...
  11. George Chell's Avatar
    "He is trying to get a lock on the conservative vote and the independent vote - two groups who want more restrictions on immigration."

    Independent vote? I dont think so. If they wanted restrictions on immigration they wont be voting in droves for Obama.
  12. R. Lawson's Avatar
    ""I don't think it would help either party right now." I agree with you but I bet that both parties would just love for this thing to go away and start the new administration without this to deal with."

    Frankly, I would too. We need to finally wrap this debate up and move on.

    At the end of the day, there will be some sort of amnesty. We may call it something else and there may be some "trip to the back of the line" plus a fine, but that's what will happen. And there will be added security and workplace enforcements. The only question is when and how effective the final bill will be.

    And on the legal immigration issues, I think at the end of the day there will be more H-1bs with some protections and much more restrictions on "body shops".

    That said, I just don't think it is in the cards to be debated this year. We'll see, but I'm not holding my breath.
  13. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    >>"I don't think it would help either party right now." I agree with you but I bet that both parties would just love for this thing to go away and start the new administration without this to deal with.
  14. R. Lawson's Avatar
    "Independent vote? I dont think so. If they wanted restrictions on immigration they wont be voting in droves for Obama."

    Obama (or perhaps Hillary) and McCain will be fighting over those independent votes. That is going to be the most interesting part of the entire debate - which way they go. It is too early to predict which way those votes will go.

    McCain will beat Hillary in the general, IMHO. But it will be a much closer race with McCain and Obama. I have no idea who will win that one - I hope Obama.
  15. George Chell's Avatar
    "And on the legal immigration issues, I think at the end of the day there will be more H-1bs with some protections and much more restrictions on "body shops"."

    They just need to lift the country quotas on employment based immigration. As far as H1-bs are concerned, either they lift the quotas or more jobs will go to immigrants in Australia and Singapore...

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/02/06/2155461.htm

    Americans wont get those jobs with higher pay.

  16. George Chell's Avatar
    "Obama (or perhaps Hillary) and McCain will be fighting over those independent votes. That is going to be the most interesting part of the entire debate - which way they go. It is too early to predict which way those votes will go.

    McCain will beat Hillary in the general, IMHO. But it will be a much closer race with McCain and Obama. I have no idea who will win that one - I hope Obama."

    I am just taking issue with your point that independents want restrictions on immigration. Perhaps that is what they say. But, that is not what they are voting on..they had a clear choice..Romney and Thompson. If immigration was a major issue for independents they had a chance to vote for Romney and Thompson. But, they voted for McCain in SC, NH and elsewhere. In Florida, the Hispanics literally carried him to the finish line. Conservatives and even racists and xenophobes perhaps but not independents. But, then these groups oppose all forms of immigration. Just read some of the attachments I have sent. Frosty Woolridge opposes all immigration, or at least non-white immigration.
  17. hmm's Avatar
    Here is the full quote of what Mccain said during the recent debate in Reagan Library. He essentially said would NOT vote for his bill today.

    "HOOK: Senator McCain, let me just take the issue to you, because you obviously have been very involved in it. During this campaign, you, like your rivals, have been putting the first priority, heaviest emphasis on border security. But your original immigration proposal back in 2006 was much broader and included a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants who were already here.

    What I'm wondering is -- and you seem to be downplaying that part. At this point, if your original proposal came to a vote on the Senate floor, would you vote for it?

    MCCAIN: It won't. It won't. That's why we went through the debate...

    HOOK: But if it did?

    MCCAIN: No, it would not, because we know what the situation is today. The people want the border secured first. And so to say that that would come to the floor of the Senate -- it won't. We went through various amendments which prevented that ever -- that proposal.

    But, look, we're all in agreement as to what we need to do. Everybody knows it. We can fight some more about it, about who wanted this or who wanted that. But the fact is, we all know the American people want the border secured first.

    MCCAIN: We will secure the borders first when I am president of the United States. I know how to do that. I come from a border state, where we know about building walls, and vehicle barriers, and sensors, and all of the things necessary.

    I will have the border state governors certify the borders are secured. And then we will move onto the other aspects of this issue, probably as importantly as tamper-proof biometric documents, which then, unless an employer hires someone with those documents, that employer will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. And that will cause a lot of people to leave voluntarily.

    There's 2 million people who are here who have committed crimes. They have to be rounded up and deported.

    And we're all basically in agreement there are humanitarian situations. It varies with how long they've been here, et cetera, et cetera.

    We are all committed to carrying out the mandate of the American people, which is a national security issue, which is securing the borders. That was part of the original proposal, but the American people didn't trust or have confidence in us that we would do it.

    So we now know we have to secure the borders first, and that is what needs to be done. That's what I'll do as president of the United States.

    COOPER: So I just want to confirm that you would not vote for your bill as it originally was?

    MCCAIN: My bill will not be voted on; it will not be voted on. I will sit and work with Democrats and Republicans and with all people. And we will have the principals securing the borders first.

    And then, if you want me to go through the description all over again, I would be glad to. We will secure the borders first. That's the responsibility and the priority of the American people."
  18. R. Lawson's Avatar
    To George: Independents are well, independent. They hold both views on the matter. The question is which group is the largest.

    To Greg: "They won Florida for him and he needs them to support him in big numbers in the fall. "

    Are you talking about Cuban Americans or other hispanics (not of Cuban heritage)? Cubans have traditionally leaned Republican. Other hispanics seem to, in large numbers, lean Democrat.
  19. R. Lawson's Avatar
    More big news - the stimulus package just passed. In short, it is $600 per individual, $1200 per couple, plus $300 per child under 17. Checks to come in May.

    I wonder if we avoid a protracted recession or not...I would have preferred an investment in infrastructure and not more wreckless spending. But, this will probably be a nice boost to the consumer side of the economy. Buy American ;-)
  20. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    Hmm.. Now you see why this is a disaster for the GOP. If McCain abandons his prior positions, he'll alienate the crucial Hispanic vote. If he sticks to them, he'll stir up a major fight within the party. And the Democrats will call him a flip flopper even as he tries to portray himself as sticking to his principles.
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