William Katz:  Urgent Agenda







PROGRESS ON IMMIGRATION REFORM – AT 9:02 A.M. ET:  Despite reports that the parties can't work together, and a depressingly threatening tone to many of Barack Obama's recent political remarks, it appears that some members of the Senate have come together on immigration reform.  From Fox:

A bipartisan group of eight senators plans to announce they have agreed on a set of principles for comprehensive immigration reform.

The deal, which will be announced at a news conference Monday afternoon, covers border security, guest workers and employer verification, as well as a path to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants already in this country.

The eight senators expected to endorse the new principles are Democrats Charles Schumer of New York, Dick Durbin of Illinois, Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Michael Bennet of Colorado; and Republicans John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Marco Rubio of Florida and Jeff Flake of Arizona.

According to documents released early Monday, the senators will call for accomplishing four main goals:

--Creating a path to citizenship for the estimated illegal immigrants already in the U.S., contingent upon securing the border and better tracking of people here on visas.

--Reforming the legal immigration system, including awarding green cards to immigrants who obtain advanced degrees in science, math, technology or engineering from an American university.

--Creating an effective employment verification system to ensure that employers do not hire illegal immigrants.

--Allowing more low-skill workers into the country and allowing employers to hire immigrants if they can demonstrate they couldn't recruit a U.S. citizen; and establishing an agricultural worker program.
The principles being released Monday are outlined on just over four pages, leaving plenty of details left to fill in.

A Senate aide tells Fox News the group's principles say important security triggers must be met before a pathway for citizenship is created for illegals. Even then, the principles explicitly state that illegals must go to the back of the line behind would-be legal immigrants, and they will not eligible for federal benefits while in the temporary legal status.

COMMENT:  There must, at some point, be immigration reform.  We aren't going to deport 12 million illegals, and everyone knows it.

This looks like a good start, and of course the presence of Senator Marco Rubio of Florida is noteworthy, as he's the only senator in the discussion group who's an odds-on bet to run for president in 2016.  If he contributes importantly to immigration reform, and becomes the nominee, he would be in a fine position to win some of the Hispanic vote that has been going to the Democrats, despite the Democratic Party's record of doing almost nothing for Hispanics. 

January 28, 2013