June 27th, 2014
06:00 AM ET
1 month ago

A year from Senate passage, foes, advocates of immigration reform battle on

Program note: Explore the journey out of the shadows led by undocumented immigrant and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas. CNN Films’ “Documented” airs Sunday, June 29, at 9 p.m.

(CNN) – Both sides in the heated debate are marking the year anniversary of Senate passage of major immigration reform legislation.

Proponents of a comprehensive overhaul vow a weekend of activities trying to put pressure on the House, which has not followed the Senate’s lead, while opponents of that bill are promising to keep up their fight.

This comes as the Obama administration is trying to deal with an influx of tens of thousands of unaccompanied children and families that have streamed across the U.S. southern border.


A major point of debate has been what impact such an immigration overhaul would have on the nation’s economy.

The Center for Immigration Studies, which does not support mass immigration into the United States, released a new report contending that immigrants got a disproportionate amount of the jobs created in the United States over the past 14 years.

The study, using U.S. government data, said the total number of working-age immigrants holding a job increased 5.7 million over that period, while declining for non-immigrants. The group maintained that proves there’s no general labor shortage and thus no need for a reform bill.

“This report also underscores the economic catastrophe that would have ensued had the ‘Gang of Eight’s’ legislation, passed in the Senate one year ago today, been moved through the House and signed into law,” Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, said in a statement. “It surged the rate of new low-skilled immigration at a time of low wages and high unemployment. Such a proposal would have hollowed out the middle class.”

Among provisions in the Senate bill, pushed by a group of eight members of both parties, was one providing a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.

For their part, advocates of comprehensive legislation argue it would aid the economy.

FWD.us, a major player on the reform side and comprised of leaders from the tech community, estimated such a measure would create 1.4 million jobs and reduce the deficit by almost $900 billion.

FWD.us aims part of its lobbying effort at a group of Republican House members. It is trying to convince them - through polling it just publicized – that immigration reform is not only popular but a priority in their districts, and that they’d be vulnerable if reform groups targeted them with negative messages.

The future of immigration reform is very much in doubt.

Many analysts see Rep. Eric Cantor’s primary loss in Virginia this month as killing already marginal prospects that the House would pass key reforms this midterm election year.

House Speaker John Boehner has said he supports a piecemeal approach, but has not indicated any timeframe for possible action. Many House conservatives are committed to killing any bill.

In an effort to help push reform and not inflame tensions with Republicans, the administration has delayed any changes in its policies on which illegal immigrants to deport until the end of July.

However, some Democrats are pressing the White House to act now on deportations.

“The clock has run out. It is time now to take action and talk to our President of the United States. In the absence of action on the part of the House of Representatives and the Congress of the United States to bring relief and justice and compassion to our broken immigration system we are now urging the President to take action,” Rep. Luis Gutierrez D-Illinois, one of the major congressional supporters of reform, said Thursday at a news conference with other advocates.

But the White House and Democratic congressional leaders say they will keep the July 31 deadline to give Boehner more time.

CNN Senior Congressional Producer Deirdre Walsh contributed to this story


Filed under: Immigration
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Marie MD

    Wake up people. The teaklans and their now resurrected leader (scared much after cantor?) just want to hate on our President.
    Everything off the table except repeal Obamacare, impeach the President and do everything they can to make him a one term president. Oh wait, that didn't work.

    June 27, 2014 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  2. Trade5foraDeserter

    Got to love what some of the amnesty advocates want to pass.
    Gang of 8 proposal:
    - over 1000 pages filled with exceptions and loopholes making it difficult to lawfully enforce

    - items like: a illegal immigrant can forge up to 3 fake passports before their immigration status can be reviewed. Funny... If a US citizen forges just 1 passport, it is a felony.
    Note: a reporter called out McCain on this and he refused to answer

    Enforce current US immigration laws.
    Secure the border.

    June 27, 2014 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  3. Tommy G

    Obama and the Democrats have created an illegal alien nightmare scenario in this country. His refusal to enforce our immigration laws AS WRITTEN, granting defacto amnesty to younger illegals, refusal to secure our borders, and attacks on anybody that HAS tried to enforce our immigration laws has sent the message that this country has no immigration laws because this corrupt, incompetent administration refuses to perform the the duties it swore to perform.

    We now have tens of thousands of young, unattended kids stampeding our porous border. And what does this corrupt administration do? Bus and fly them to states all over the country! AIDING and DUMPING illegals!! And why are they coming? Because word has gotten out that Obama will not enforce the laws and deport them.

    November must see the Democrats thrown out enmass just as they were in 2010 if this country is to survive. Domestically and internationally, Obama and the Democrats have been a total disaster. They want, no demand open borders to allow this country to be invaded by millions. And then complain about how many poor, uneducated and unhealthy people we have in this country, making it sound like it is US that is causing this problem.

    June 27, 2014 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  4. Anonymous

    There can be NO reform of any kind until the flow across our border is stopped, NOR until the WH stops importing kids from Central America, to try to force his will on the country.

    June 27, 2014 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  5. Jan Nappylotto

    Obama and the Democrats have lost the support of the American people, so they have to 'import' voters from South-of-the-Border.
    If you are a legal US Citizen or legal US Immigrant, Obama and Co:
    - don't care that your children's education system will be devastated by the flood of illegal immigrant children
    - don't care that your hospital visits will cost a whole lot more to compensate for the flood of illegal immigrants demanding free healthcare
    - don't care that car insurance rates will increase due to the plague of uninsured illegal immigrants on the road
    - don't care that the already burdened welfare benefit system will be drained dry by illegal immigrants
    - etc., etc., etc.

    Obama and Co. are more than willing to sacrifice your future to ensure that they have illegal immigrant votes instead. Feel that burning, sharp pain right between your shoulders? Get used to it, Obama is more than willing to stab you in the back and twist the knife.

    June 27, 2014 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  6. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA - Take Back the House

    I really don't care if republicans stall on immigration reform. They're ensuring presidential election losses for the next 20 years or better.

    June 27, 2014 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  7. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Actually President Obama has only lost the support of the people that didn't like or vote for him in the first place. I guarantee all those worrying that the "Mexicans are coming! The Mexicans are coming" are from immigrant families too. If only the Native Americans could have kept those criminals out of their country.

    June 27, 2014 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  8. bill

    obama "the borders are secure". this is as obvious as IT WAS A VIDEO or YOU CAN KEEP YOUR DOCTOR or NOBODY TOLD ME or I FOUND OUT WHEN I WATCHED THE NEWS. 37% think chicago/obama is doing a good job--CAN YOU NAME ONE COUNTRY THAT IS BETTER OFF SINCE OBAMA TOOK OFFICE/?? ONE??????

    June 27, 2014 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  9. barky

    Voter ID. Shut the border down. This country is getting eatan alive.

    June 27, 2014 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  10. DC Observer

    For the first two years of Obama's Presidency, when he had Democratic control over the House and Senate, he did nothing on immigration reform even though he campaigned to do it in his first year and could have easily passed it. Obama did not want it in 2009 – McCain had a bill and Obama did not do anything.

    Obama does not want Immigration reform today and neither do the Democrats This is nothing by mid term election politics

    June 27, 2014 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  11. DRAKE MALLARD

    Ted Cruz and Mario Diaz-Balart,leana Ros-Lehtinen. marco rubio/other cubans have credibility on immigration issues when they advocates that immigrants from other countries are treated the same as those from their homeland – Cuba. So either grant automatic legal status as soon as they set foot on American soil, or make Cubans go through the same process as any other immigrant. Until then, just another hypocrite.

    June 27, 2014 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  12. Luc

    GOP will not pass any bills they can't even make decisions on anything because the GOP control congress and the GOP is broken. So good luck and watch other countries wave at us while they get economically stronger and we fade into the sunset. It is all over the rich getting richer and special interest groups running the country. We will no longer be a force in the world economically if we can't run our country properly. It is as simple as that. Money is what makes this country run and the 1% have it all and politicians want it to keep there useless jobs.

    June 27, 2014 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  13. Fred

    He has already taken action by not enforcing the law but I am sure he will do more with his pen and phone. That is about all he has left. This hurts the lower middle class more than anyone else at least in the south because all these people do jobs that the uneducated and high schools kids do. You know if they are not going to deport people here illegally that individuals sure aren't going to get in trouble for hiring them for manual labor. At this point who cares. Do nothing until they enforce the border and our laws.

    June 27, 2014 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  14. Jack

    The WASP party (Tea Party) doesn't what to work, doesn't anyone not their color or culture in this country, except if the same religious favor they are. That why there has been no immigration reform! Sorry the truth hurts!

    June 27, 2014 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  15. Chuck

    CNN continues to campaign for amnesty and is giving almost no coverage to the current border chaos that this administration has created. The open bordered welfare state that CNN and the Democrats advocate will completely bankrupt this nation.

    June 27, 2014 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  16. wasjustthinking

    UGG – The CBO and JCT's analysis on the Senate's plan said it would reduce deficits and debt as well as being good for the economy.

    The GOP have gone off the deep end.

    As far as the ACA goes, it is working all we need to do is get rid of the business mandate and in exchange for doing so, raise the min wage.

    Expanded medicaid and the subsidies are better for low income workers and if we exchange the business mandate for a good wage increase – that would be better for everyone.

    June 27, 2014 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  17. Thomas

    If we would invade Mexico and central America like we did Iraq , Somalia , Afghanistan , Vietnam , El Salvador , Cambodia , we could call the immigrants refugees and the GOP would be happy .

    Is it time to look at emigration and over population in the same light ?

    June 27, 2014 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  18. Sniffit

    "Because word has gotten out that Obama will not enforce the laws and deport them."

    LOL. You guys crack me up. It's not deniable that he's deported more than any POTUS ever, that he's increased the deportation of criminals by 70% and that he's been doing 90% (and ENORMOUS increase in percentage over past POTUSes) of the deportations by "charging" them, so that if they are found here again within 5 years, they can face criminal charges and incarceration. These are numbers. You can't tell 2 and 2 to add up to 5 by donning a tinfoil hat and yelling until you run out of breath.

    June 27, 2014 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  19. Hector Slagg

    Well,
    Let's see. Illegals here, uh, non-citizens want the American people to grant them Citizenship by violating the Law. The American people see more and more welfare being given to the new citizens by the Liberals. The liberals aren't going to pay for it, the taxpayers are. There are over a million new citizens coming now, under the laws now on the books. Like it or not, there isn't going to be any Amnesty now or in the future. If you are here illegally, and want to become a citizen, return to your own country and get in line.

    As for the flood of illegals now crossing the Southern Border, I say build a giant processing center in Central America where we can transport these illegals and process them back to their own country. Get them off American Soil and out of the Taxpayers pocket.

    I would develop a Extremely detailed Registration form, for all illegals now here where they can register. They will pay for the registration, say about $500.00 per person. After a year registrations will be closed. Those can stay until they are 65 when they will have to deport. In the meantime they can go thru the same process as people now becoming citizens. Anyone caught after the registrations are closed, will be deported at once, no reprieve, no delay.

    Then maybe we can help those who are the "Dreamers".

    June 27, 2014 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  20. M Gonzales

    So long as the Democrats insist on a pathway to citizenship in any form the illegals are never going to find a solution in this nation. The GOP and right in this nation want all the illegals to go back to their home countries and any talk of citizenship is a automatic deal breaker. IF the Democrats really cared about the illegals in this country they would drop any talk about citizenship and stop hindering border security. If they did that the Right and Left would find a middle ground but I have no faith in the Democrats since in my opinion they dont care about the illegals in this nation only the possibilty on getting millions of new Democrat voters and thats all they care about.

    Edgewood, NM

    June 27, 2014 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  21. Sniffit

    "complain about how many poor, uneducated and unhealthy people we have in this country, making it sound like it is US that is causing this problem."

    BWAHAHAhAHA. So you think we don't have millions of white Christian 'Murkin "natural born" children who live in abject poverty and don't get enough to eat? Newsflash: the GOP/Teatroll "trickle down" policies that redistribute all of the nation's wealth upward IS the problem. We're doing it to ourselves because we idolize wealth and treat it as not just a virtue in and of itself, but because we consider it proof of a person's virtuous nature. It's not. Plutocracy is a castle built on sin. Chew on that.

    June 27, 2014 10:35 am at 10:35 am |