Immigration Reform or Amnesty Redux? – Open Item

Hoosier Access Open Item covers Senate passage of immigration reform and previews what's coming later today.Yesterday’s news was dominated by the Senate passing an immigration reform measure that didn’t cut the mustard in many circles. Even Republican proponents of immigration reform like former President George W. Bush Press Secretary Ari Fleischer indicated he was glad “something” passed the Senate and indicated the House of Representatives doesn’t have to pass the same legislation – not exactly a ringing endorsement!

Senator Dan Coats his disappointment with passage of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S.744), which passed with support from over two-thirds of the Senate. Coats said:

While there are some good measures in this legislation, the bill does not avert the fundamental mistake of the 1986 immigration reform act – granting legal status with only promises, not proven results, of border security. In order to obtain the trust of the American people, this legislation needs to ensure real results on securing our borders before beginning the path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

On the other hand, Senator Joe Donnelly voted in favor of the legislation and was one of the primary supporters of the Corker-Hoeven Amendment that many supporters feel delivered the critical provisions that distinguished this reform legislation from previous efforts that resulted in defacto amnesty. Donnelly released a statement that acknowledged he wasn’t happy with all of the provisions of the legislation after the vote. He also justified his support for the statement in the excerpt below:

At the core of this bill is a bipartisan proposal, which I helped introduce, that would enact the strongest border security measures in our nation’s history. The plan would double the size of our border patrol, construct 700 miles of fencing, invest in the tools and technologies necessary to stop the flow of illegal immigration, and require all employers to use the E-Verify system to ensure they hire legal workers. At the same time, the bill would require undocumented immigrants who have broken the law to register with the government, pay taxes and fines, learn English, and go to the back of the line.

Donnelly has gone on the record indicating that he would not support amnesty for illegal aliens. The debate has been whether this legislation falls under amnesty

The House of Representatives is not expected to pass anything resembling the Senate legislation, but is receiving encouragement from all sides. Congressman Luke Messer released a statement indicating that any reform would need to, “first address border security, include stricter employment verification systems and ensure that folks who came here illegally are not treated better than those who have followed the law.” His staff indicated that whatever passes the House would be stronger on these points than the version that passed the Senate.

We will follow the developments of this legislation as it makes its way through the House very closely, so stay tuned! Yesterday I posted an analysis of how the Supreme Court decisions will impact Indiana politics and how we can expect the traditional marriage debate to unfold over the next year.

If you follow Hoosier Access REALLY closely, you may have noticed one of our sidebar images has changed. We’re getting ready to participate in the Smart Girl Summit this August. This annual event is put on by the widely respected Smart Girls Politics and this year is coming to Indiana. If you’d like more information on ho to participate, just click on the SGS 13 logo or visit http://www.sgpaction.com/sgs13.

Finally, later today we have a pretty strong lineup, including the latest installment of Hostage Hoosier Highlights, another contribution from guest blogger Warner Todd Huston, and your nominees for Tweet of the Week! As always, if you have any comments on the issues of the day or news you’d like to share with the Hoosier Access community, just post a comment below!

This post was tagged under: Dan Coats, Immigration, Joe Donnelly, Luke Messer, National Politics, Open Item

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