Democrats consider new immigration reform push
October 24th, 2011
05:16 PM ET
2 years ago

Democrats consider new immigration reform push

Washington (CNN) – Democratic sources tell CNN that it's likely that Democrats on Capitol Hill –with the approval of the White House– will re-introduce some form of immigration reform, possibly as early as December. At this point, the details of any plan are unclear. But what is clear is that Democrats are interested in using their version of reform as a "contrast issue" to Republicans, who largely emphasize border security.

Sources say there are ongoing discussions among Democrats ranging from re-introducing comprehensive reform to bringing up the Dream Act again, which would allow the children of illegal immigrants who go to college or serve in the military to become citizens. The Dream Act was defeated last year.

Another possibility being considered is to combine a tough border security plan introduced by Arizona Republican Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl with a form of the Dream Act. "Nothing has been decided," says one Senate Democratic leadership aide. But, he adds, "there's a lot of interest."

While there is almost no expectation that a major immigration bill could pass Congress in an election year, it provides a way to distinguish Democrats from the GOP debate on immigration-and potentially keep Hispanic voters in the fold. Hispanic activists have been disappointed in Democrats' failure to pass major immigration legislation, but Democrats are betting the contrast with Republicans could bring Hispanics back to the party and out to vote.

So far, the Republican presidential primary contest has focused on strong border security questions. Herman Cain was forced to backtrack on his controversial statement on the need to electrify a border fence, calling it a "joke.' And Texas Governor Rick Perry came under fire from the other GOP candidates for his state's legislation allowing the children of illegal immigrants to pay in-state college tuition.

The division between the parties could not be more stark: Republican contenders believe you can't be too conservative when it comes to immigration. Democrats see the GOP positions as an opportunity to regain some lost ground.

With the Latino population growing, both parties are expected to make major plays for its vote next year with Democrats hoping to repeat the results from 2008. According to CNN's exit poll, President Barack Obama captured 67% of the Latino vote then while McCain got 31%. Hispanics make up parts of the electorate in key battleground states, such as Florida, Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado, and in order for President Obama to do well there again, he needs good turnout from that population.

- CNN Senior Producer Kevin Bohn contributed to this report.


Filed under: Democrats • DREAM act • Immigration • Rick Perry • Senate
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Texas Doc

    Do it! The Republicans will show their true colors (or lack of color) in coming out full bore against anyone who is not wealthy and non-anglo. Cain is a decoy, the GOTea hates brown people, black people, asian people, gay people, the middle class, the working class, pretty much everybody except rich, white, protestants. Good luck with that shrinking base.

    October 24, 2011 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  2. diridi

    Stringent Immigration is needed in USA, Now. Lot of illegal influx needs to be stopped. Overstaying on expired visa needed to be deported. Period.

    October 24, 2011 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  3. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    This will not make the ethnic cleansers in the republican bagger party happy.

    October 24, 2011 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  4. Sean

    Illegal is illegal period. Why are legal citizens held to this standard and illegal’s are not?

    October 24, 2011 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  5. Big George in Big D

    Good lord – run those blood suckers back to Mexico and whever else they come from! I am sick and tired of their drain on society!

    October 24, 2011 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    "Stringent Immigration is needed in USA, Now. Lot of illegal influx needs to be stopped. Overstaying on expired visa needed to be deported. Period."

    And, of course, in their need to portray any and all controversies generated by GOP/Teatroll criticism of Obama/Dem policies as legitimate, what the MSM is NOT reporting is that there are more troops on the border under Obama than at any time in our history and that he keeps setting records for the number of illegals he is deporting...not to mention that a very large percentage of the most recent record of approximately 396,000 deportations, give or take, was comprised of convicted illegals, which is a result of Obama's administration enacting a oplicy of focusing on the dangerous convicted illegals as a priority. Now, even Obama has admitted that counting the raw numbers can be a little misleading...altho it is the way it has always been done for past administrations too, so you have to do it that way to compare apples to apples...but it still shows he is ardently committed to addressing the problem and is doing a good job of it...better than any in the past 3 decades. The MSM does NOT want you to know that.

    October 24, 2011 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  7. WHO IS THE ILLEGAL!

    I am confused, the children of Illegal parents, so are the children born here, if yes they are already legal citizens but if not then they must apply for citizenship. Hey their parents work here pay taxes or don't because the illegal acts of corp america who pay them under the table or allow them to use false ss# but no matter someone is paying some taxes whether they are and don't file tax returns the the govt is getting double dip and the employer paying their share of employer tax so it's not like the govt isn't getting not only cheap labor but tax revenue because they won't file tax returns. Hey we as americans attribute illegal imigrants only to the mexicans, well of course because if your from middle east they buy they way here then try to blow us up.

    October 24, 2011 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  8. Rick McDaniel

    Not going anywhere.

    WE the people, want real immigration enforcement, as part of that package, or you get ZERO concessions, for your giveaways, and hand-outs, Democrats!

    October 24, 2011 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    "WE the people, want real immigration enforcement, as part of that package, or you get ZERO concessions, for your giveaways, and hand-outs, Democrats!"

    Given what I cited in my first post, let's translate the GOP/Teatroll hysteria over illegal immigration that began, oh so suddenly, with the election of a black man in November 2008: "HOLY FREEKIN CRAP...THE COUNTRY'S GOING BROWN...EVERYBODY THROW A TANTRUM AND GET REALY REALLY ANGRY!!!!!!!!"

    October 24, 2011 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    The biggest problem with immigration reform is the cry that deportation breaks up families. I do not subscribe to that argument. The parents knew the risk, accepted the risk, and unfortunately the parents imposed that risk upon their own children.

    If a parent were to commit some crime that calls for a long prison sentence, no one claims that breaks up families because that is what our justice system calls for. If the justice for the crime calls for deportation, then so be it. The parent has the choice to take the children with them. I find the "break up families" argument as substantive as Mrs. Rick Perry saying that her son lost her job because of regulations in the financial industry.

    October 24, 2011 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    BTW, if you really want to understand where it's all coming from on the right, read some articles about Pat Buchanan's new book. You'd think it would've been some sociology professor or a poli-sci professor or soemthing who would've written a book laying all the groundwork for the argument that the core, keystone, underlying reason for the GOP/Teatroll move towards the extremist right and freaking out about things liek imagined voter fraud, the need for voter IDs, illegal immigration, etc., once Obama was elected is that guess what...the country IS going brown and in the next couple of decades "white" will no longer be the majority. They are terrified of this and angry because "this was supposed to be a white people country." They'll deny it and call me the racist because they know nothing but projection, but I'm just looking at facts...and while I expected it to be some professor making an argument, it turns out Pat Buchanan wrote a whole book ADMITTING IT and just released it for public consumption.

    October 24, 2011 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  12. Hammerer

    Great idea for the dems! Present a bill that they know that has no chance to pass, promise the Mexicans the world to get their vote.
    Then after the election, business usual. Forget about them until next election and deport enough illegals to keep the heat off and wait until the next election and do them all over again.
    It has worked on the blacks for years why not work the mexicans the same way!

    October 24, 2011 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  13. Portland tony

    Not a good idea Democrats to bring up immigration during an economic downtown.Everything gets blamed on the immigrants, legal or not. Half of America wtll sound like bigots and the Democratic party will be the loser!

    October 24, 2011 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  14. $$$$ Buying your Votes $$$$

    Imigration Reform – aka: Turnstile Borders

    Brought to you by the DNC – Buying your votes one voting block at a time since 1961.

    October 24, 2011 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  15. T'sah from Virginia

    ►But what is clear is that Democrats are interested in using their version of reform as a "contrast issue" to Republicans, who largely emphasize border security.◄

    The Republicans are not for immigration reform………Period!! This is the reason why they stress “building the fence” when they know doggone well that fence is NOT getting build. Just like we’re sitting around and waiting for them to pass the Jobs Bill that will create jobs NOW; we’ll be sitting around and waiting for the fence to get build. In the meantime, NOTHING gets done!!!

    The Democrats should step up to the plate now in the way of immigration reform because they have NOTHING to lose… Really!!!

    Obama 2012

    October 24, 2011 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  16. Rudy NYC

    WHO IS THE ILLEGAL wrote:
    Hey their parents work here pay taxes .... so it's not like the govt isn't getting not only cheap labor but tax revenue because they won't file tax returns.
    -----------------
    I've seen many cases where illegals are working valid jobs with false social security numbers, but claim so many dependents on their W-4s that they pay almost no payroll taxes. I know this because I've watched people throw their W-2s in the garbage, pulled some out and looked at them. Shame on me, or shame on them? Or shame on the employer who hired them?

    October 24, 2011 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  17. lgny

    "Overstaying on expired visa needed to be deported. Period."

    If that person overstayed a student visa where he/she earned a degree in engineering or computer science, then give this person a green card instead of deporting. We need such people.

    The point here is that common sense trumps blind adherence to a position. There should always be common sense exceptions to the rule.

    October 24, 2011 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  18. Inrealityhere

    Texas Doc – You can't be serious.
    Sean Says it all in 2 simple sentences.

    October 24, 2011 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  19. James

    I love how latinos think that "immigration reform" means "amnesty"... Stupid fools.

    October 24, 2011 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  20. pedro A.

    Please! Please! Democrats, keep fighting on behalf of foreign nationals whom have no respect for our laws or our soveignty. I'm sure the Mexican-Americans will come out and vote for the Democrats on nov. 2012, and the rest of the nation will surely vote for the Republicans. This is how off-track the Democratic party has become, at a time when the American people as well as legal immigrants, can't find a job, the Democrats are fighting to bring 12 million illegal aliens into the work force... HURRAY DEMOCRATS... IT IS OFFICIAL, YOU HAVE ALL LOST YOUR MIND.

    October 24, 2011 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  21. Sydo

    Do it and show the contrast between the Dems ideas and the Republicans hardline.Immigration is a mess but leadership tackles tough problems and find compromise. The DREAM act is a reasonable bill and should be passed, Republicans were for it in the past and they are now putting politics in front of commonsense

    October 24, 2011 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  22. John N Florida

    IF they restrict the benefits of the DREAM Act to the soldier or the student, then I'll push for it. The current bill allows to many 'family members' to ride the coat tails of the person putting forth the effort.

    October 24, 2011 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  23. Hair bear

    We wouldn't have this problem if our laws were corrected . We should change the rules if your born here in our country and your not legal than your kids are illegal as well. If your caught here and you don't have a green card than you should be subject to deportation in twenty four hours. No one is saying u can't visit, we welcome tourist. All employees hiring illegals need to have a set fine to pay. Now how simple is that, no rocket science needed.

    October 24, 2011 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  24. vic , nashville ,tn

    Yes time to reform

    October 24, 2011 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  25. Jeff Spangler

    Can the net value of pandering to the illegal alien lobby possibly outweigh turning off Democrats and Independents who support enforcing the current law until it is changed? I doubt it. It's already too late in the campaign for any reform to pass. Why bother? A death wish?

    October 24, 2011 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |