Sen. Schumer: 'Darn good chance' of passing immigration reform
November 11th, 2012
11:16 AM ET
2 years ago

Sen. Schumer: 'Darn good chance' of passing immigration reform

Washington (CNN) - Sen. Charles Schumer, the third ranking Senate Democrat, said Sunday that he and Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham will officially restart immigration reform talks that crumbled two years ago.

Schumer told NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday that he and Graham have a plan designed to appeal to stakeholders on all sides of the highly contentious issue and he's optimistic that it can get through a gridlocked Congress.

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"[Sen.] Graham and I are talking to our colleagues about this right now. I think we have a darn good chance using this blueprint to get something done this year," Schumer said.

The plan includes four key elements: stronger border security, creation of non-forgeable proof-of-citizenship documents, fairer legal immigration for desirable candidates, and a tough-love path to citizenship for those already in the U.S.

That path, Schumer said, would require applicants to learn English, wait their turn behind immigrants who've used proper legal channels, hold down a steady job, and refrain from criminal activity.

The long-simmering issue of immigration reform has been thrust into the spotlight again on the heels of Republicans' Election Day losses in races where the Latino vote played a key role. Mitt Romney, the GOP nominee, won only 27% of the Latino vote.

In the days since the election, Republican lawmakers, political commentators and thought leaders have taken on a more conciliatory tone when discussing immigration. Graham himself was quick to point out that Republicans missed an opportunity.

"Conservatism would sell with Hispanics. They're hard working, entrepreneurial, pro-life, pro-military," Graham said Sunday on CBS. "But the truth of the matter is the immigration debate that we engaged in in 2006 and 2007 has built a wall between the Republican Party and the Hispanic community because of the tone and rhetoric."

Graham made clear that he wasn't inclined to miss the opportunity the next time around.

"It's one thing to shoot yourself in the foot. Just don't reload the gun. So I intend not to reload this gun when it comes to Hispanics. I intend to tear down this wall and pass an immigration reform bill."

But it remains to be seen how much support can be rallied. Schumer and Graham have made several attempts to tackle immigration reform. In 2010, President Barack Obama expressed support for Schumer and Graham's efforts, saying he was "pleased" to see a promising bipartisan framework.

"We had put together a comprehensive detailed blueprint on immigration reform. It had the real potential for bi-partisan support based on the theory that most Americans are for legal immigration but very much against illegal immigration," Schumer said.

However, their efforts drew fire from all sides, with the progressive publication The American Prospect at one point calling their plan "ridiculous" and GOP party committees in Graham's home state of South Carolina censuring him for his congressional votes on immigration. Talks eventually stalled.

On Sunday, Schumer didn't offer any more specifics about the timeline for talks or implementation. He did emphasize the need for compromise from both sides and a strong role for moderate Republican voices as the talks unfold.


Filed under: Charles Schumer • Lindsey Graham
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. vic , nashville ,tn

    Election Day Hispanic and Asian American express their view in the ballot.

    2008 Mc Cain got nearly 58 Million votes ,in 2010 republicans got nearly 45 Millions votes in 2012 Mitt Romney got nearly 58 Millions votes Nothing improved

    Wake up call , By 2020 Iowa and Virginia may become blue state GOP, Arizona and Taxes may become swing state

    Pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform with Path to Citizenship

    November 11, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  2. Randy, San Francisco

    Speaker Boehner will have to convince hard line social conservatives and Tea Party members to vote for comprehensive immigration reform which includes a path to citizenship. Not an easy task when there are so many "deniers" in his party who cling to ideological purity.

    November 11, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  3. John

    Latinos should note that we would already have bi-partisan, comprehensive immigration reform if a few years ago, then Senator Barack Obama, D-IL, wasn't the deciding vote on the Dorgan Amendment 49-48, which gutted immigration reform. The late Senator Ted Kennedy called it the "poison pill" that killed comprehensive immigration reform. Obama is not your amigo his voting record proves it. Obama could have also passed the Dream Act via reconciliation but wanted to use it as a campaign weapon instead.

    November 11, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  4. mansouth

    The Republican Party has learned that being anti-immigrant doesn't work for them politically. TRUE

    November 11, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  5. mansouth

    i hope both parties work on bipartisan basis this time to solve the nation's critical issues.

    November 11, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  6. SOS

    Please don't put Asian Americans with Latinos. The difference is huge. Most Asian American are here legally, they are educated and they don't indulge in criminal activities.

    November 11, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  7. vic , nashville ,tn

    @ SOS
    When red states pass the immigration law based on skin color its alienated Asian American from Republican Party that is my point
    Many Asian American ownsmall business, even in bad economy they were investing.
    They don’t want local sheriff ask to many questions on the road based on their skin color

    November 11, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  8. Peace

    Who does think GOP will close their eyes, hold their noses and pass the Immigration Reform? There is a very slim chance of doing so. Immigration Reform can be done very easily if Dems control both chambers as the Health Care Reform was done. Latinos still have another assignment to take. Clear the house in mid-term election 2014 and elect Dems.

    November 11, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  9. just sayin

    >Latinos still have another assignment to take. Clear the house in mid-term election 2014 and elect Dems.

    they had that chance less than a week ago and didn't do it. did you miss that?

    November 11, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  10. jmmjr49er

    Wow, Amnesty Part 2. This time we really mean No Enforcement.

    November 11, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  11. David

    The last thing this country needs is to let 12 million illegal immigrants get a free pass. Go home and get in line. I married a fine gal and after 5 years together brought my New Zealand wife over here legally. She and I stood in line, filled out the paperwork, did the medical and paid the fees. I do not care if you are white, black, brown, green or purple; if you are in the US illegally, please leave, self deport, I do not care how, BUT GO. You are not wanted and as long as I am alive I will opposed any and all amnesty. It does not matter who won the election.

    November 11, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  12. Sam

    The government and the corporations that run it don't want immigration reform. It is just talk. Illegal immigrants push down wages and enable slavery. Because their children, if born in the US, are free, we need a constant wave of new illegal immigrants to fill the slave ranks every generation. Their children, born into poverty, are more likely to become part of the for-profit prison system, creating jobs for cops, lawyers, judges, corrections officers and parole officers, and then join the slave ranks when they get out. There is no profit in immigration reform.

    November 11, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  13. Ray E. (Georgia)

    A darn good chanch of passing immigration reform? There is also a darn good chance of repealing Obama Care, paying off the national debt and reducing the unemployment percent. In a hundred years.

    November 11, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  14. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Oh, by the way. There already is a path to citizenship. I understand there are about 8 million in the pipeline now. By the book, by the law. The people have already rejected amnesty.

    November 11, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  15. 2020

    They who built the wall encroached themselves, slave themselves.

    I hope GOP has learned its lesson.

    November 11, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  16. clarke

    The problem is we need a starting point, we also need to find out who is legal and who is illegal, what a job, but it could be a job creator, but at a huge cost to the American people. So many of the illegals have fake SS numbers and papers. So I guess we keep what is here but stop anymore from coming in. We have had illegals here since the birth of this country and no one cared, but for some reason everyone thinks there the problem for Jobs, health care welfare and a host of other things. That just is not the case, Some are just looking for someone or something to blame. Not everything we do in this country needs all this drama. The illegals have not taken anyone jobs, These are jobs that most people would not even consider even if they were staving to death. We need to learn to pick the battles so we can win the war.

    November 11, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  17. idb

    Amnesty does not work, that has already been tried. As for crime, the first (and not the last) crime these illegals committed was crossing the border illegally. The only thing that does work is enforcement of the laws on the books. Schumer and Graham should both be in prison for treason.

    November 11, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  18. plain&simple

    If moderate republicans will speak up....they can take their party back and leave the fringe to wither in the sunlight!!!

    November 11, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  19. minemanUT

    I am as anti-illegal immigration as you get & I could live with reform but it must include rigid E-verify requirements & big fines for employers who do not ignore using it. Also, we need more than border security we need to have internal immigration security. Just because someone makes it past our border does not mean that they should be able to stay. Just last night in Salt Lake City, Utah in the middle of a big snow storm at 8pm at night I went to get something from a local fast food restaurant & before I could even get out of my truck I had an illegal immigrant from Mexico asking me for money to buy food. It made me mad that our immigration enforcement did not stop this man from entering this country, but I still helped him. This person should be in Mexico & the Mexican government should be making sure he has a job or helping him, not me!.

    November 11, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  20. nothing new here

    The GOP just needs to tone down the non-stop rhetoric.

    November 11, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  21. Marla

    I didn't see the DREAM ACT mentioned in this article. That should also be added to their "blueprint".

    November 11, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |