Jan. 30–Long before immigration reform hits the floor of the GOP-controlled House, the success of a bill overhauling the country’s broken system will start in the Senate, where Republicans’ commitment — or lack thereof — may ultimately be the deciding factor, one pundit said.
“If the Senate passes a strong bill with bipartisan support, that will put extensive pressure on the House to at least have a vote. … And if it has a vote in the House, I would be very confident that it will pass,” said Matt Barreto, a University of Washington political science professor and co-founder of Latino Decisions, a political polling firm.
Barreto added that if a bill passes the Senate with 61 votes — meaning only a handful of Republicans got behind it — “I don’t think it sends a strong enough message.”
Support for reform ramped up yesterday as President Obama called for action during an address in Las Vegas, saying “now is the time” for change while providing a broad proposal that focused on clearing a path to citizenship and tightening the nation’s borders.
Questions remain over key details in both Obama’s and the Senate’s proposal, including exactly how the roughly 11 million illegal aliens in the country would attain citizenship.
And Obama’s speech drew almost immediate criticism from U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.), one of the four Republican architects of the Senate proposal, who slammed the president for indicating that “reforming immigration quickly is more important than reforming immigration right.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.