Advocates of comprehensive immigration reform will not be happy about a statement just released from Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC. He says because Democrats are about to use a fast track procedure to get health care reform through Congress without a single GOP vote, he will now back away from the negotiating table (if they are successful - and it does appear they have some momentum on their side, at least today).
“The first casualty of the Democratic health care bill will be immigration reform. If the health care bill goes through this weekend, that will, in my view, pretty much kill any chance of immigration reform passing the Senate this year.”
Graham has been working behind the scenes with Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, to fashion a compromise. The two were recently at the White House to meet with the President about their efforts.
This announcement by Graham Friday afternoon comes just one day after the duo put out a blue print for reform.
Under the Schumer-Graham proposal, a biometric I.D. card would be required for employment; border and interior security would be beefed up; illegal immigrants in the country now would have a path to citizenship (remember -- opponents call this "amnesty"); and some kind of guest worker program would be implemented.
There are enormous forces against this reform effort, particularly Labor and business groups. A number of Democrats also do not like the idea of bringing this explosive issue up during a key midterm election year, when prospects for Democratic losses at the ballot box are heightened due to national divisions over health care reform. As such, many in Democratic leadership do not think it has much of a chance of being considered this year.