Highly contested immigration bill wins reprieve in Senate

With Republicans and a few Democrats opposed, legislation was unlikely to prevail before August recess
Associated Press
Jul 30, 2014

A bill to deal with the immigration surge on the U.S.-Mexico border won a temporary reprieve in the Senate Wednesday as lawmakers maneuvered to offer some response to the crisis before adjourning for the summer.

Senators voted 63-33 to advance the $3.5 billion emergency spending bill over an initial procedural hurdle. But with Republicans and a few Democrats opposed, there was little expectation that the legislation would ultimately prevail with only days left before Congress' annual August recess.

Even if it did, the Senate bill is at odds with a competing measure in the House that has a smaller price tag and includes contentious policy changes the Senate bill ignores. That measure drew a veto threat from the White House on Wednesday.

Republicans called the Senate measure a blank check for President Barack Obama's failed policies and demanded policy changes opposed by Democrats to send the migrants back home more quickly. The bill also includes hundreds of millions of dollars to fight western wildfires and $225 million to help Israeli self-defense, but lawmakers were making plans to deal with the money for Israel separately.

Still, Republicans and Democrats alike said the crisis of tens of thousands of unaccompanied Central American youths crossing illegally into South Texas demanded a response. Some Republicans voted in favor of moving forward Wednesday, saying they wanted to open debate on the measure in order to be able to offer amendments, though Democrats were expected to oppose such efforts.

"My constituents back home don't understand why in the world we would leave without fixing this problem," said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. "If we don't do anything to deal with the causes or deal with a remedy for this growing humanitarian crisis, it's going to get worse."

Cornyn was among 11 Republicans who voted to proceed with the bill. Two red-state Democrats in tough re-election fights — Sens. Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana — voted "no."

The bill includes $2.7 billion for more immigration judges, detention facilities, enforcement measures and other steps to deal with the tens and thousands of youths who've been arriving in South Texas without their parents or visas to enter the U.S. It does not include legal changes to permit authorities to turn unaccompanied Central American youths around at the border without deportation hearings that existing law guarantees — a GOP demand that Democrats say would send the kids back to terrible conditions.

Given that disagreement, there appeared to be no clear route to compromise.

"They should have their day in court," said Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md.

House Republicans, meanwhile, were hoping to act on their own solution, a $659 million measure that leaves out the money for wildfires and Israel but includes the legal change to send migrant youths home quickly and would also dispatch National Guard troops to the border.

Although the White House has backed legal changes to deport the kids more quickly, a statement of administration policy said the House legislation "could make the situation worse, not better," by setting arbitrary timelines that could create backlogs and hurt due process.

It was unclear whether House Speaker John Boehner would be able to count on enough support to pass the bill as he aimed for a vote Thursday. Many conservatives remained skeptical, and some outside conservative groups were urging lawmakers to stand opposed.

Tea party Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas summoned House conservatives to a meeting Wednesday night to strategize. Cruz has argued that no bill should pass unless it repeals a two-year-old Obama directive granting work permits to immigrants brought here illegally as kids, and some House conservatives were issuing similar demands.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid fomented conservative concerns by threatening to use the House bill as a vehicle to attach the Senate's comprehensive immigration overhaul bill, which the House has rejected.

More than 57,000 unaccompanied minors have arrived since October, mostly from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. Many are fleeing vicious gangs and are trying to reunite with family members, but they also are drawn by rumors that once here, they would be allowed to stay.

The Homeland Security Department says overwhelmed border agencies will be running out of money in coming months, and Obama asked Congress to agree to provide $3.7 billion.

 

Comments

Donegan

$3.7 billion divided 57,000 times is 63,000 bucks a piece. How many US citizens that are homeless could this help? And $225 million to help Israeli self-defense? We already send them billions a year let them find some other cash cow to drain.
Tax those who support this deal 100% and let them go further into debt and leave the rest of us alone. I do not want any of my taxes going to support foreigners when there are so many hurting at home.

mikeylikesit

if you keep making sense like that you will be very unpopular on here. you're going to hurt some liberal feelings and be called a racist. they will probably try to charge you with a "hate crime" too..

The Big Dog's back

I think we should sever ties with Israel.

Donegan

YOU should pay the millions to support them, after all its a Democrat bill.

The Big Dog's back

Repubs would be the ones to pass it moron. They control the House moron.

CommonsenseNow

Listening to a townhall on this right now. Wow. Salient points:
* 97 percent interviewed are not running because of fear but because they are told they are going to get asylum.
* 20 percent of MS13 members are now in America. As a Congressman stood in broad daylight today, with uniformed border patrol officers and police present, they eye-witnessed MS13 members came across borders to run drugs. A pregnant woman then got out of the vehicle in front of police and said "I want asylum." Border patrol then processed the woman. A video on this is to be posted. I will follow-up with a link when it is posted.
* Coke, heroin, meth all coming across border; 8,000 pounds of marijuana a day.
* We have no Southern border. It is erased. We are seeing foreign nationals from all over the world enter. It is crushing us. People come in from 142 countries
* 58,000 Cubans at the Laredo entrance so far this year.
* Boehner's bill does NOTHING to seal the border. It just gives Obama money.
* Local law enforcement, people in shelters, border patrol are all doing their job ... but no one is stopping the problem because of the politicians. The border patrol does NOT STOP ANYONE from coming over now. They just simply process them, and it is expensive to do so.

IMPEACH LOWER LEVEL GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS INVOLVED WITH THIS LAWLESSNESS. I will type more as this townhall goes on.

CommonsenseNow

More from the townhall on the issue of our southern border being erased - folks, it is COMPLETELY open. This is the issue of the day.
* There is no increase in violence in Guatemala, el Salvador, and Honduras.
* One Congressman brought up ... what about in Egypt when the violent Muslim brotherhood was decapitating Christians in Cairo? No asylum granted there. * What about Christians chased out of Mosul, Iraq for the first time in 2,000 years? Over a dozen heads of Christians put on poles. No interest in granting asylum there.
* Mcallister, TX. Illegals overloading ambulance services (at $1,200 a pop) and emergency rooms.
* They are putting illegals in cities all across the country without NOTIFICATION. Mayor, politicians, communities (who will end up paying the bill because law says we have to educate them) are finding out AFTER THE FACT.
* Proposed immigration bill voted on tomorrow says if illegal fails to show up for their hearing, the judge will order the removal of the alien ONLY IF THE GOVERNMENT CAN PROVE it was the alien's fault he couldn't come. Thus, no one will be ordered to be removed if illegal doesn't show up for his/her hearing.
* Immigration judges are appointed by ERIC HOLDER. Under bill voted on tomorrow, ERIC HOLDER will make ALL THE RULES and appoint emergency immigration judges. So FORGET ANYONE being deported.
* If cities who accepted HUD money doesn't accept illegals, they will be subject to UNLIMITED FINES at the discretion of the ERIC HOLDER immigration judge.
* 553,189 people have been granted amnesty by the president since March of this year. Over 700,000 people now (til July) granted amnesty by the president this year ...
* Possible 5 million - 6 million work permits to be issued to illegals.
* Marsha Blackburn is the bill to watch tomorrow - demands Obama stops this.

NO MAN IS ABOVE THE LAW INCLUDING BARACK OBAMA.

CommonsenseNow

MELT THE PHONE LINES TOMORROW - VOTE NO ON BOEHNER'S BILL FOR ALL THE REASONS DESCRIBED ABOVE.

CommonsenseNow

Oh and Louie Gohmert totally annihilated the "emergency" 3.5 billion in funds. CBO (Congressional Budget Office) only predicts $25 million will be spent by fiscal year end. It is all a rouse. http://bigstory.ap.org/article/c...

sugar

I despise these SOB's.

sugar

The democrats need these people , they need a permanent, ignorant underclass to support them, no one else will.

Contango

Wanna see the future under decades of fool headed Democrat policies?

Watch the movie "Idiocracy" translated into Spanish.

CommonsenseNow

By 2043 the white majority will be gone; it is already today among babies being born. By 2060, blacks are only predicted to increase slightly (13.1% today to 14.7% - abortion rates amongst blacks has wiped out 36 percent of their population); whites will decrease (63% to 43%). Hispanics (who apparently have a lot of children) will go from 17%-31%. Poverty rates today are Whites (13%), Hispanics (32%), Blacks (42%).
Guess I don't understand how giving 5-6 million illegals work permits via what even Ed Schultz (left hardliner) has declared as an unconstitutional overreach, and that "no one man should have that much power." At least the guy is honest, and it's true. Obama is trying to make law via executive orders; hard left partisans don't care because they have no clue, really.
How is giving work visas to 5-6 million illegals going to help those Americans already looking for jobs? It will just bring down wages even further as Americans now compete with someone used to making $1/hour in their country.
http://www.nationalreview.com/co...
http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/.... http://www.census.gov/newsroom/r...

wasthere

People like Bigdog could care less about MS13 members crossing the boarder and the threat they will cause. To people like him, it will just be another block party.