Debate to Begin on Monday, June 10
On Monday, June 10, the United States Senate is expected to begin debate on the “Gang of Eight” Immigration Reform bill. This week the news on immigration reform has mostly been about various constituencies on both the Right and Left gearing up for battle.
Neither the Right nor the Left is fully on-board with the bill that passed the Senate Judiciary Committee, which may in fact be the bill’s strongest feature. Each likes some aspects of the legislation, and finds other parts of it reprehensible. Some on the Right continues to complain about any path to citizenship, and will likely never be satisfied until everyone with immigration status problems is forced to leave the country. On the Left, pro-labor and others are complaining about guest worker provisions they consider too liberal, and marriage/family provisions that they believe are too restrictive (i.e. lack of recognition of same sex marriage in the bill).
The debate in the Senate Judiciary Committee was civilized, bipartisan, constructive and thoughtful – adjectives that few Americans normally use when describing Congress.
Obtaining the same high level of debate will likely not be possible on the Senate floor, as Senators make statements not just to one another, but to hundreds of thousands (indeed millions) of American via C-Span. Senators will likely feel the need to appeal to their core constituency groups, who will be listening to every work uttered determine whether the Senator is staying true to his/her Right or Left principles. Moreover, the Senate will be awash in interest groups invading Capitol Hill in person, through email, and via phone calls to their elected representatives.
Starting Monday, the proverbial rubber will hit the road. Let’s just hope that there is enough tread on the tires to keep the debate from spinning out of control.