Senate Begins ‘Wild’ Week of Debate on Immigration, Outcome Unknown

Lawmakers will try to assemble immigration legislation that can garner 60 votes as the Senate undertakes an exceedingly rare open-ended debate.


Comments: 246

  1. My prediction: nothing will be done, any fair and decent legislation will not pass, and the anti-immigrant crowd who elected Mr Trump will have their way. Their way is a white America. How much will it cost to deport this number of people, many of whom or most of whom have good jobs, raised families, etc. Even if a decent good bill passed in the Senate, it is doomed to failure in the House. A pity. How many of us in America are descended from ancestors who came over from Europe or elsewhere, and landed on Ellis Island? They walked free to take up citizenship in the US.

    The New Colossus
    BY EMMA LAZARUS
    Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
    With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
    Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
    A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
    Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
    Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
    Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
    The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
    “Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
    With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

  2. Any US born children do. And illegal "immigrant" parents ARE eligible for some Medicaid.

  3. Plus, they had to apply and be admitted. They came through the legal process. There is no country in the world that allows illegal immigrants to stay in their country. An none offer as many legal avenues.

  4. Yes, they do. And state benefits

  5. Good to hear Congressional representatives may actually learn how things are supposed to be done. Typically, it's a one-party, closed-meeting process that won'd see a vote unless victory is guaranteed. That way, voters will never know what their elected officials will commit to.

    Congress might even learn to like the process. Everybody in the pool.

  6. A debate in Congress? This is impossible. The opinions of all sides are concrete and fixed way before any discussion. Its fo political show, to seem to actually show they are willing to listen and perhaps change their minds with sufficient facts. No, these are belief driven folks and they are already decided. A debate is for actual facts and statistics to be given to try and prove a position. This is not what our politicians do.

  7. Can only hope it is a helpful debate. It will be like seeing them draft their own campaign ads.

  8. Wow, what a concept...actual democracy at work. In an institution that usually styles itself as "...the greatest deliberative body in history" but hasn't actually debated in so long that members don't know what to do, this is a step, albeit a small one, in the right direction. Now if senators can debate the facts (another novel concept) and not their prejudices, we may get somewhere.
    But then...there's the House which will probably shoot it down without even reading the bill. Amazing how often votes are taken without reading/knowing what's in it.

  9. No Representative Republic at work. Democracy is when all citizens of the Republic vote on an issue.

  10. When all is said and done, after we've gone through this charade, this is what's likely to happen: ICE will be unleashed to go after tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants, including Dreamers, and those who recently lost protected status (by Executive action), Haitians, Salvadoreans, and others.

    They're likely to be detained (incarcerated) in for-profit prisons (who by the way, are a huge source of political campaigns' contributions).

    This situation will spread fear (and terror) in immigrants communities. Also, many people of color who are citizens or have legal status are likely to be affected by what ICE folks have euphemistically (and cynically) called "collateral damage."

    The fear, the tearing families apart, while the right wing cheers on, will create a very toxic social environment where racism, xenophobia, nativism, and ultra-nationalism will continue to gain strength, unless people of goodwill stop this from happening.

    One more thing: the Democratic party establishment (figures) are likely to say that "they didn't see this coming."

  11. "When all is said and done, after we've gone through this charade, this is what's likely to happen: ICE will be unleashed to go after tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants, including Dreamers, and those who recently lost protected status (by Executive action), Haitians, Salvadoreans, and others."

    Exactly how would this be a bad thing?

  12. Wow what an imagination!

    Do you really think that the Immigration service has enough agents to go after approx 800 K DACA participants, even though they have a current address on all of them?

    Police can rarely find anyone even within their own city unless they just happen to pull over a car for a minor traffic violation. And then they need a warrant to arrest them.

    Besides DACA participants are protected under Federal law still.

  13. mpound, you ask, "How is this a bad thing?"

    Maybe you should have read the 2nd and 3rd paragraphs, instead of just giving your knee-jerk reaction to the first.

    Pouring more tax money into a private prison industry that continuously lobbies for its own expansion is a bad thing, in my view.

    This, as Mr. Mendoza wrote, is also a very bad thing in my view:

    "many people of color who are citizens or have legal status are likely to be affected by what ICE folks have euphemistically (and cynically) called 'collateral damage.'"

  14. There are many on the left who said that the Democrats got nothing but a promise from McConnell to have a open floor debate on DACA and immigration when they voted to end the government shutdown, but it looks like he is keeping his word on this.

  15. Now they will claim it means nothing because...(fill in the reason). Irrational people are never satisfied.

  16. Good, it's about time debates like this started happening. Congress needs to work together to pass bills, not divide the country by shoving them down the throat of whichever side is not in power.

  17. What ever happened to the time-honored idea of starting major legislation in the appropriate subcommittee with hearings, debate, mark-ups and amendments? From subcommittee the bill goes to the full committee for further debate and amendments. Then it goes to the floor where the entire body gets to debate and then vote on the measure.

    Someone should tie McConnell to a chair and force him to watch School House Rock.

  18. Senators having an open floor debate with the hopes of creating bipartisan legislation? Imagine that. Let's hope the going back to basics approach is successful and can be replicated for other issues.

  19. This sounds like what the Senate should always do, but with Mitch McConnell in charge I'm skeptical.

  20. Amazing. That almost sounds like democracy. Unfortunately, It has always been the case that having the votes necessary to pass something doesn't matter. The decision is on whether or not the votes of the correct party are there. In effect, many bills that could receive a majority never reach the floor. As the President would say: "Sad".

  21. Renegade, there's nothing about a Republic that should prevent a vote from coming to the House or Senate floor so that the people's representatives can do their job.

    The current situation is the antithesis of a representative republic. Even under the Constitutional requirement that sparsely populated states get the same number of senators as larger ones, President Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court would have been confirmed, if not for the cynical manipulations of anti-representation Republicans.

  22. Charles:

    Yes the process that is happening consists a Representative Republic. Voters elected Representatives - Senators and House Representatives. To present legislation to the President both the House and the Senate have to build and vote on the legislation.

    Perhaps your confusion come from my use of a pronoun. I meant that John, You or I will not get to cast a vote on the legislation that this process may come up with. That is Democracy, where citizens get to vote on an initiative. We elected these Representatives, so the legislation they pass for the President to sign is an example of a Representative Republic.

  23. No. It’s known as the Hastert Rule. Don’t lecture me if you don’t know what you’re talking about. Snotty comments don’t replace actual knowledge

  24. Building a bill from scratch is not novel within well-run organizations. It's called brainstorming. There is no better way to come up with the best ideas.

  25. Immigration is the issue of our time. It touches all of the big issues directly and indirectly.

    The environment. We need to be seriously discussing cutting our nations emissions and transforming our economy into one that runs on renewable sources. We had one thing going for us- a national population that was declining. We have now lost that and are talking about bringing in tens of millions of additional people. This is lunacy and will end up hurting all of us in the long term.

    Social programs. We continue to believe that if we import enough low income workers we can, somehow, pay our future obligations. This begs the question- what happens when all these imported workers retire? We must reform our social insurance programs so they are sustainable- and do not require ever growing numbers of people to finance.

    Income inequality. We must face basic economic facts- importing workers depresses wages, prevents modernization and perverts normal economic forces. We are forcing the weakest citizens in our society to compete, directly and on every front, with the poorest people in the world. It is not fair to them. Not just jobs- housing, school resources, county resources, ratio of service providers to citizens. There are tens of millions of jobs, performed by illegal labor, that cannot be outsourced.

    It is 2018. The pie is not getting bigger. Every additional person is less for each of us individually- and a darker future for our entire country and planet.

  26. If Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the democratic leaders cannot see this they are throwing 2018 away.

  27. Agreed. Natural resources and space are limted. We can't run a pyramid scheme economy forever.

  28. @Chris NYC,

    You would be right if this were almost any time before now.

    But this isn't the past- it is the present. The present cannot sustain 330 million Americans. So what do we do? Bring in millions more so our population growth rate will increase.

    Why? Because we place value in things like GDP which value quantity or quality. But that is not really growing the pie- it is slicing it up and exchanging it more often.

    Dynamic? Is that having a wide variety of restaurants to choose from? A bunch of really cool music to listen to? Neat hats?

    Adaption to climate change will be more difficult with more people. Don't believe me? We will find out soon enough.

    A social order that requires the planet to be trashed, that requires ever growing numbers of people in poverty, then it is not a sustainable or desirable social order.

  29. Well, our Senate advertises itself as the "greatest deliberative body", I think they add, in the world.

    Show time, now.

    Folks supporting DACA fix are going to regret this "60 votes" magic number. It is just for the same reason that it has not passed since 2001.

    If past is any prologue, the Majority Leader will tell the Senate - after a week - "time to press on to other legislative business."

  30. 60 votes is only a rule, a lazy one to prevent people from actually holding the floor. If an elderly female can talk for 8 hours others could talk for days. Eliminate the rule.

  31. Say what you will about McConnell, but he is living up to his word that he would open the Senate to debate immigration.

  32. Mitch McConnell is like Lucy with the football...

  33. In other words: McConnell does his job according to the oath he took.

  34. He daren't do otherwise.

  35. Oh my, it's almost as though we are living in a transparent, functioning democracy.

  36. No, this is an example of the Representative Republic. The Representatives you elected may be able to shape this legislation.

    The outcome would be based on Democracy if everyone got to vote for the final measure.

  37. Renegade, you might as well give up. The average American learned that they live in a "democracy" in the 3rd grade, and have not grown any more knowledgeable or sophisticated in their understanding of our government, its Consititutional foundation, and its history. I wonder how many would be shocked to know that prior to the 17th Amendment, passed just over 100 years ago, people did not even vote for Senators.

  38. Miriam-Webster
    Definition of democracy
    "1 a: a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections."

    The opposite of a democracy is a dictatorship. We should all hope that the United States is still a democracy.

  39. If nothing else, it's a welcome change to see the Senate at least embrace the prospect of an honest, open debate without a lot committee back room dealing and partisan politics controlling what can even get a vote.

    Unfortunately, I think there's too wide a gap between the two sides for anything to get done. The GOP insists that every migrant is a criminal, and the Democrats want to give even the actual criminals flowers, hugs, taxpayer-sponsored handouts, and permanent citizenship lest we be too "mean" to them. Hopefully smarter heads will prevail, and we'll address DACA, tighten security to ensure we don't have an endless need to keep granting amnesty to childhood arrivals, and start to prioritize skilled migrants who will help jumpstart our economy and keep us ahead of China from a technology standpoint.

  40. "Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, told reporters last week. “And it will be an opportunity for 1,000 flowers to bloom.”"

    So now Mitch McConnell is quoting Chairman Mao Zedong ?

    Just when you think that American politics has reached peak weird...

  41. A president who take his lead from Putin. McConnell who quotes from Mao. Any doubt who won the Cold War now? Sad.

  42. Let a thousand flowers bloom, Mr McConnell? Just like Mao in 1956 (except ten times as many, in a nod to DT). We all know how well that one turned out....

  43. This needs to be celebrated. Be still my heart and "Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, told reporters last week. “And it will be an opportunity for 1,000 flowers to bloom.” OMG. Really OMG!
    Maybe we have been down so long this is starting to look like up to me. (I have plagiarized of course)

  44. The Twit at 1600 PA Ave is proposing to slash Medicare to pay for more nukes, but the opposition has won a major victory in forcing the Senate to debate . . . immigration.

  45. This will be fascinating to watch, and hopefully proof that our Senate still functions as a legislative body. I'm hoping for a good outcome containing plenty of compromise, and no threats of gridlock by either side. They should also completely ignore Trump for the moment, as his demands will be like sand in the legislative gears.

  46. Great. Get all the racism out in the open, for all to see.

  47. Yes the racism of many posters and some news organizations.

  48. How can open ended debate in the Senate be novel? That is the whole point of the reason that the Senate allows filibusters ! The idea of replacing open ended debate with a rule to end a "filibuster" with 60 votes is absurd. The senate should institute rules allowing for much more open ended debate with those measures that receive the most votes winning - that should be the filibuster rule.

  49. This debate needs to concentrate on the immigration policy and not just illegal immigrants. From what I am hearing/seeing on youtube, it looks to be more about wall and illegals but not a long term immigration policy that addresses the concerns of blue collar US citizens and the business needs of the US economy.

  50. You get your political news from YouTube? Other than cat videos, I didn't realize they are a news source.

  51. Yay! I think.

  52. Good thing Mexico is going to pay the $25 billion that Trump says he needs for his needless wall!

    After all he promised the American people numerous times - and he wouldn't lie to us would he?

    Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. Well, he's fooled the American people literally hundreds of times and his Republican base keeps coming back for more.

  53. One wonders why the Democrats didn’t do this when they had the chance. Is it possible they whaed to keep the issue and it attendant turmoil alive rather than actually work to find a solution? Now we can see what each party proposes. Seems like a great idea to me.

  54. They did. It passed in the House in 2010 and the GOP filibustered it in the Senate.

  55. Politics is the reason, dems have ways to keep folks in line, that is why I never vote for them.

  56. Democrats desperately need the Hispanic turnout in the mid-terms. Pelosi's 8-hour "talk" was her contribution.

  57. So, you mean, Democrats and Republicans get to propose ideas without some pre-existing framework? And then discuss those ideas, and modify them? And try to come up with some cohesive plan that a majority will approve?

    I'm going to faint.

  58. Save the fainting for when they have an actual proposal that has 60 votes...

  59. "When you find yourself in a hole, you must first stop digging". That means wall, mandatory eVerify, and, most definitely, an end to the lunacy of Birthright Citizenship.

    This country never solves complex problems quickly. The current illegal "immigration" mess has been developing since the misbegotten Reagan Amnesty of 1986 --32 years! And every year of that, illegal "immigrants" have been having US citizen children and making this issue much more complex to solve.

  60. A wall!? Paid by Mexico, right? I mean, Trump PROMISED they'd pay for it!
    Listen, pal, unless you're a Native American, you're an illegal immigrant, one way or another!

  61. No, Mexican workers were brought in without papers in the 1950s and 1960s to defeat the farm labor movement. They were kept on private ranches to avoid exposure to immigration enforcement, underpaid, cheated of wages and exposed to hazardous working conditions with no legal protections. Chinese immigrants have been entering the US by land from Mexico without legal papers for over 100 years. None of this was started by Reagan's amnesty. It is a failure of responsibility by employers. As long as jobs are available without documents, people will come to fill those jobs

  62. The 'lunacy' of birthright citizenship is enshrined in the Constitution. Maybe you've heard of it?

  63. The circus has come to town.
    Groups of Senators should have banded together to propose some straw men.

  64. Exactly. Through Ellis Island, checked for lice to boot, not through some illegal tunnel in the desert. And my family came one by one all legally and it took ten years for all of us to get here and get that US passport ! And I’m all for the dreamers, but illegal is self evident

  65. Because there almost no immigration restrictions (except for the racist, exclusionary ones). Your (presumably European) ancestors had to satisfy almost no qualifications to make it through Ellis Island

  66. Angry, if people did what was required to make it through Ellis Island, regardless of how easy you think it was, it was legal at the time.
    My ancestors followed the rules of the time. THAT'S the salient point.

    And once here, they got nothing for free. No food, housing, medical care, etc.

  67. It's the House that's most worrisome when it comes to a vote on immigration issues.

    Paul Ryan has no leadership skills, and is afraid of the Freedom Caucus, a truly horrible group of people with the mentality of terrorists, who refuse to compromise with anyone.

  68. Really?? Some might insist that giving DACA individuals any special benefits is not correct at all. I don't support them getting citizenship in any special way, but have no problem with the current program continuing.

  69. vulcanalex,

    Where do you see anything in my comment about "special benefits?"

    Also, what are you asking "Really??" about?

    Did you accidentally reply to me?

  70. One hopes that the Senate will debate immigration -- that is, whether and how to permit immigration to our country going forward.

    As for the illegal aliens present in our country, there is no debate: the enforcement effort should be redoubled until they have all been deported. It just makes good sense.

  71. Your idea makes no sense at all.

    I think the only solution to the problem is a blanket amnesty for all immigrants currently here, followed by a new strengthened immigration policy restricting future arrivals.

    We need a clean slate if we are to make a fresh start. Otherwise, too many lives will be disrupted for no discernible advantage.

  72. Every time we've put through a new immigration law, its makers have promised that the blanket amnesty for all (illegal) immigrants here would be followed by a newly strengthened immigration policy restricting future arrivals. The second part seems not to follow.

  73. Can you give me a number on the cost of deporting 11 million people? Can you give me an number of the economic impact of doing so?

  74. Silly me, what you call a 'novel approach' I would characterize as the bones and sinew of what was meant to be our constitutional republic's experiment with deliberative democracy -- indeed, if Ms. Stolberg is interested, she might read a book or three about the process out of which our Articles of Federation and then our Constitution was crafted, and she might realize creating things from scratch is in fact our original tradition.

  75. I understand the sentiment towards DACA and there should be a solution. However, what about legal immigrants waiting in long backlogs for both employment based and family based - Noone should cut in the line and we should get rid of the per country caps and the diversity visas during this negotiation.

  76. And birthright citizenship aka anchor babies.

  77. “We’re going to have something in the Senate that we haven’t had in a while...”

    ....open discussion, open debate, and a vague reminder of democracy.

    Well, isn't that just earth-shattering ?

  78. Yes it is totally stupid, this "issue" should not take more that a couple of hours. Take either the house bill or the president's proposal (or both) and vote on them. Repeat with some adjustments until something passes. We know the things that have to be in it, so why even waste time talking.

  79. This is the process. Let it play out. It used to be called "sausage-making" before party heads started dictating that their party's members must stick to talking points.

    Under Trump, Congress is actually getting back to work. It's been playing politics and accomplishing little for so long it might be hard to actually get things done again. The mid-terms are the real obstacle, drawing them back to their political playbooks.

    The media is another group that needs to get back to work. It's so steeped in opinion politics that it has lost its ability to report objectively. It peddles far too much of the equivalent of trash talk.

  80. I like the idea, yet unfortunately, I do not believe the humane element of the republican part of the Senate, if there still is one, will stand up to the anti-immigration faction and to the president. They really are xenophobic at this stage, and it is a shame. So not what our country was founded on.

  81. The dictionary definition of "congress" is:
    "the act of coming together."
    Yet the fact that it is big news that congress plans to actually, maybe, debate and talk (as opposed to ramming gerrymandered and closed door partisan bills down each other's throat) is remarkably sad.
    Our democracy is on life support.

  82. It would be thrilling to see a team of qualified elected officials actually working out the shape of what healthcare could look like in this country, if there were really a clean slate to start with, and if there were such a thing as a "qualified builder of national healthcare systems" somewhere in Congress. The groups involved will not be looking to first principles to "build" a humane and effective healthcare system from the ground up; they will return to partisan first principles at the first session break. During the run up to the election, I read comments from voters warning nominees to "Keep Govt out of my healthcare!", while lamenting cuts to medicare and medicaid. How can reps stay loyal to their bases if the bases believe any government solution to a problem must by definition be a bad one? The Republican Conservative mantra has been that Smaller Government itself is the solution, to everything - and their plan to shrink government starts with showing how ineffective the popular vote is at selecting people with large brains and long vision. Coupled with the understaffing of key positions, there may not be anyone left in Washington smart enough to accomplish anything but obstruction - you know, the kind we talked about before the current president took on the role of Chief Obstructionist, the kind where you showed up to work on the floor, voted against all of the opposing party offerings, thumbs up with all of your own. Simple!

  83. “And it will be an opportunity for 1,000 flowers to bloom.”

    I know Republicans have gotten weird, but to see their Senate leader (mis)quoting Chairman Mao is something I didn't think I would get to see.

    Mao's Hundred (not thousand) Flowers movement was followed by purges resulting in the imprisonment, torture, and often death of untold numbers of people. I don't know what Mitch is planning, but it doesn't look good.

  84. "...lawmakers will, in effect, attempt to build a bill from scratch on the Senate floor..."

    They are resorting to this because Republicans cannot legislate. They are gibbering incompetents.

  85. Has floor debate ever changed the outcome of a vote in the modern era?

  86. Apart from Sen. McConnell channeling Chairman Mao ("Let a thousand flowers bloom!), this structure for putting together a bill is a useful change for what has become a dysfunctional system. Traditionally, Congress has worked on the committee system, the understandable rationale being that no Member could be knowledgeable about everything, and that ongoing participation on a given committee would help the Members to become more familiar with the subject matter.

    As that system has not worked for a decade or so, this open-ended floor debate may well be a good way to get things moving again. However, one should be cautious about endorsing it as a precedent, inasmuch as the rationale for committees still is valid. One hundred mostly know-nothings will not in the course of ordinary legislation produce a better result than ten know-somethings.

  87. I look forward to, finally, hearing a number from the Democratic Party.

    I suspect the Democratic Party definition of a Dreamer is quite a bit different from that of a typical citizen.

    Not that long ago we were told that we had to protect 690,000 college kids / army veterans / selfless volunteers needed to be protected.

    Then the headlines changed to 800,000. Then Trump offered 1,800,000. Democrats said no.

    So what is the number? How many people does the Democratic Party just want to handout citizenship to?

    I have seen videos of Dreamers in the faces of sitting members of Congress screaming All or None.

    I think the Democrats are going to end up asking for 20 million people to get amnesty and citizenship.

    I cannot support that. Our collective future cannot support it.

  88. @Details, Where are the DACA's parents? Should not they be deported? Or are they able to stay here through smuggling their kids over the border? Nicely rewarded for illegal criminal activity.

  89. Of course the DACA's parents should be deported. Nor is there any protection for them. They did commit the crime.

  90. Where do you get the idea that the Democrats are asking for 20 million people to get amnesty?

  91. Senator McConnell is living up to his word that he will provide a debate on immigration, but it is difficult to see how a free standing debate can craft effective legislation that can garner 60 votes in the Senate, a majority n the House and POTUS' signature. Every thirty years, it seems we have an immigration bill. With the Simpson -Mazzoli bill in 1986, we thought we solved the problem by granting asylum to millions already in this country and strengthening the border. That only encouraged more illegal immigration. The issue is a basic one: does anyone who crosses a border to live in the United States without incident, such as a criminal conviction, deserve automatically to stay in this country. If the answer to this question is affirmative--and I suspect that it is not--, the problem is solved. If not, do the so called Dreamers, who were taken here as children, stand on a separate footing than other undocumented or illegal immigrants? If we grant protection to the Dreamers, how do we treat subsequent child migration? Are we encouraging parents to throw their children into coyotes to cross the border illegally with the understanding that we will compassionately allow these children to stay? Perhaps the solution is to deny citizenship to Dreamers but permit them to stay and state that there will be no extensions of the program to future children who appear without documentation in our country, which insures that immigration laws will be enforced.

  92. I say put the emphasis on people. Dreamers and their families are living in terror at the thought of being deported and having their lives totally disrupted. I say regularize the status of Dreamers and their families and give Trump his stupid—because it will ineffective—wall.

  93. Seems like a great idea to me. I thought that's how our Congress is supposed to work. Bills coming down from on-high to be rubber stamped by Congress seems more like China than America.

    I hope the Democrats are willing to actually compromise. I like the Dreamers, but I want a secure border, e-verify, merit based immigration, and a focus on helping the citizens and immigrants who are already here.

    If the Dems shut this down or refuse to make a deal to do these things in exchange for helping 1.8 million Dreamer, I will be angry. The Dems made their narrative and they should end this now before people start to believe that the Dems care more about illegal immigrants than the American citizens who elected them to serve their interests.

  94. The DACA issue should be resolved separately. It is an old issue. Modify the Obama version and pass it. Eighty percent of Americans want DACA. Why do a few bad eggs from southern states have to always disagree. Once DACA is done, then go onto the bigger question of immigration and border security. Assume DACA is done. Then what about the bigger picture. Both sides want to use DACA for political gain. Get over it and act like grownups instead of "I'm going to take my ball and go home."

  95. It's unclear what scope you are providing for compromise when you list your demands, and don't say that any of them are negotiable

  96. Sorry, but 'people' already believe that Dems want illegal immigrants and open boarders. And based on rhetoric out of their mouths, and the likes of Clinton, Saunders during the last election, the people are spot on.

  97. Puppet-face McConnell may have kept his promise to open debate on immigration, but we all know how this is going to turn out!

    The illegal immigrants will be expelled from the USA!

  98. I don't know by whom or how the pieces would be put together, but wouldn't it be nice to see groups of Senators present, in public, chunks of a law on topics they are passionate about. Then see how many cosigners they could get for each chunk. Then those with the most popular chunks try to fit them together into a coherent bill. As I said, all in public. One might actually get people to feel their government was working, that Senators were not after all, less popular than used car salesmen.

  99. We want to have a fair and open discussion. But bear in mind these 3 essential Democratic points

    1. Many people here claim that undocumented migration disadvantages legal migration. However, the administration's insistence on doing away with family and lottery based applications in exchange for DACA protections will actually punish those who are currently following the law to the letter while granting a break to those who didn't or couldn't, and so we do not accept these explanations as a valid argument for pushing through these un-acceptable terms. We will not pass ANY measure that reduces the rate of legal immigration, particularly from countries that do not meet the president's particular ethnic standards

    2. We remain, as we always have, open to increasing funds for border security, towards whichever projects the administration feels is necessary towards that end. However, we still believe that a wall will be highly ineffective and counter-productive measure, and would advise against spending tax-payer money on such an ineffective measure.

    3. We will continue to stand by our cities in their decision not to cooperate with ICE's overzealous round-up of undocumented civilians with no serious criminal records. We will not allow the administration to pass unconstitutional measures that aim to bully our civic leaders into actions that will expose their police departments to civil suit and sow distrust within the communities they serve.

  100. So you are unilaterally going to decide which democratically enacted laws you are going to enforce?

    I guess that whole rule of law and equal application thing is out-dated. We can have a feelings based legal system.

    We do not need an 18th century immigration policy in the 21st century. We do not need an 18th century economy in the 21st century.

    Lets call a moratorium on immigration and start investing in our own kids. We can modernize our economy. Young people who like working with their hands can build robots and help automate.

    We can build a 21st century renewable energy system. A world-class national transit system.

    And we can streamline and reform our judicial system so we can humanely deport those here illegally with respect and dignity. We can rededicate our nation to the rule of law and its equal application.

    The idea that all are treated equally and not based on sympathetic stories or self-created dilemmas.

  101. AJ Garcia,
    Your conditions sound a little like hijacking U.S. governance. Who are "we" and what gives you a voice if you are here illegally? Do you know of any country that would allow you to enter and demand the right to stay? Get a grip.

  102. Dlud, on what basis do you assume that AJ Garcia is here illegally? Just the name? You've betrayed your own prejudices with this assumption.

    AJ Garcia's Point #1 is an argument for maintaining existing avenues for LEGAL immigration, instead of reducing those avenues.

    Point #2 is that a border wall would be a HUGE waste of our tax money. Some of us also object to it because it will cause environmental damage, and impact endangered wildlife in the border region. There are far more effective ways to spend that money, if border security is the goal.

    Point #3 is about allowing cities to decide their own course on policies that affect possibility for community policing. If local police are required to report to ICE, this makes it harder for them to build trust with witnesses of truly serious crimes like murder, human trafficking, and sexual abuse.

    These are all completely sensible, mainstream ideas that the majority of Americans can agree on.

  103. Well, there might be "open" debate - but if it's anything like the tax "reform" bill - be prepared for last minute add ons in the margins that no one really understands - and everyone votes for. If I had to hazard a guess - the GOP will have to make some accommodations to the GOP/Trump supporters who benefit economically from undocumented workers - like in the agricultural and housing sector. After that, it's anyone's guess.

  104. “but if it's anything like the tax "reform" bill - be prepared for last minute add ons in the margins that no one really understands..”

    Sounds a lot like Obamacare.

  105. It is a cruel way for Democratic and Republican politicians of leading on the Dreamers with false hope. Not enough Democrats will vote for the wall or cut future immigration in exchange for DACA. There is clearly no chance that DACA will be renewed and Dreamers be allowed to stay legally..

  106. "...the country they call home"
    If only it were that simple.
    However, calling a country home doesn't make it so.
    That's why we have immigration laws and regulations.
    While American citizens, who also call this country home and whose rights and jobs are being usurped by foreign criminals and their children, are just collateral damage.
    I suppose that, "...further emboldening ICE to terrorize their communities and break up families.” makes sense to someone who is not unemployed because of these people, while enforcing laws is "... an unacceptable and immoral compromise."
    And enforcing rape laws is also unacceptable?
    And allowing the #Me Too movement to terrorize the male communities with unproven charges is all a part of the Divine plan.
    Yes, my bleeding heart friends, let's embrace criminals and provide benefits to their children while neglecting the damage they do to legal American citizens.

  107. There are several countries that I'd like to call "home" but their laws, darn it, won't let me.

  108. What planet do these liberal, open borders warriors live on? They want DACA amnesty without addressing the problems that allowed 11 million people to enter a sovereign country illegally in the first place?

    Without border security, e-verify and end to chain migration, this situation will go on ad nauseum and a new generation of Dreamers will flow across the border. I favor a DACA solution but an American working class which has seen its real wages frozen for two decades deserves relief, too.

  109. OMG!

    "Dreamers flowing across the border" AGGHHH.... To do what?
    Serve in the armed forces, work, pay taxes (unlike Trump), go to school, love their family .
    Name one way that adversely effects you and your family. (hint: it doesn't)
    Th biggest demographic receiving "liberal" social services ?
    Poor, uneducated whites in red states, made-in-china MAGA hats.
    Go figure.

  110. Lower and middle class incomes saw a rise in 2015 and 2016 for the first time in decades. Millions of working class people got affordable health insurance, and ALL working class (everyone in general) got expanded benefits no matter where they got their insurance. Pitting DACA recipients and immigrants against "real" Americans is a false, politically constructed "problem."

    Net movement across the border has for some years now been at zero or INTO Mexico. The top factor in undocumented immigration is overstayed visas. Perhaps Democrats are looking at these facts and simply see that there are different solutions, not just yours.

  111. You need to look at what's actually going on. The vast majority of the unregistered residents live in states like California, Arizona and Texas, not in the midwestern "Rust Belt" states where there is massive unemployment among former factory workers. Those people were cheated out of their livelihood by investors who sent their jobs overseas, mostly to Asia. If you want to deport somebody, start deporting Wall Street bankers.

  112. Before everybody falls over themselves applauding the return of democratic open debate, please commit yourselves upfront to supporting the results of that process--whatever they may be.

  113. I am still confused on why our representatives are having a debate at all. This is not Disney World where everywhere can "...wish upon a star...". They all should be gone because they set an example of lawlessness and it has dripped down over American society since Obama allowed this to happen. Why should we alter laws to accommodate lawlessness?

  114. Children set an example of lawlessness, when they are brought into the country through no fault of their own, and successfully integrate into American life?

  115. Are you suggesting that we should have kept the laws that allowed slaveholders to keep slaves and lawless slaves from being freed after they fled their masters? There was lawlessness in the underground tunnels that were devised by those who knew that the laws were unjust and highly punitive of a particular population who had no right to speak on their own behalf, as they were considered property. Does our history of slavery in any way resemble that of those here illegally who have the threat of deportation, low wages at jobs that Americans don't want, criminal trafficking, impoverishment or imprisonment as their daily lot?

  116. This thing is dead the minute Ryan invokes the Hastert Rule.

  117. Ryan has already invoked the Trump rule, which is worse than the Hastert rule. He will not allow to even come to the floor anything President Trump might veto. Since Trump has many different positions on immigration, as on many subjects, this eliminates everything.

  118. Call me a Pollyanna, but isn't this the way it oughta be?

  119. I don't think the NYT realizes how palatable the White House's proposal is to the majority of America (USA). Keep Your Eyes open.

  120. "Donald Trump Backs Citizenship Pathway for Dreamers." The White House would offer 1.8 million Dreamers a path to citizenship, in exchange for strict limits on legal immigration.

  121. I don't think you realize that the majority of Americans do not want to spend a single red cent on building a border wall, let alone billions of dollars. Let's fix the water in Flint first. Let's restore electricity and clean water to US citizens in Puerto Rico first. Let's protect the environment from further damage by Trump's cronies first. I suggest you keep your eyes and ears open so you can discern what a lying con artist Trump is.

  122. Americans should be thankful a hardened politician didn't win the White House. We'd never be having this debate.

  123. It is entirely legitimate for someone to argue that illegality should not be rewarded, that illegal immigrants are just that, illegal. However, I would ask those who think of it as a very simple black and white issue whether they also believe that those who act illegally by speeding or driving under the influence should have their driving license yanked on a first offense, whether spouse abusers should be allowed a license to marry again, or whether a corporation such as Wells Fargo that violates the law through palpable fraud should be allowed to keep its license to operate?

    If most Americans can answer consistently, then I will respect their opinion that illegals are simply illegals. If not, if they think there should be some nuance in applying the indicated penalties for violations of the aforementioned laws, then I expect they should also approach the question of illegal immigrants, especially the "dreamers", in like manner.

  124. I suspect i likely agree with you on the issue, but i am not at all sure that the disparate group of rhetorical questions that you pose lead to a consistent set of answers, or that they set up, individually, let alone as a group, a useful analogy to the DACA issue.

  125. Helping Anne Frank was illegal. So were escaped slaves and the underground railroad. Sometimes the right thing to do is illegal and we hope the law will catch up. Nice try on the rhetorical questions, but in the end no cigar.

  126. A narrow deal that gives DACA participants legal residency and increases border security should be the Senate's focus, given the short time to March 5 and the need for bipartisan support. Many here call for additional measures. Given the GOP majority, a second, separate bill containing those measures would certainly pass in the House. Give Trump his '4 pillars' in two parts. Save his 'edifice complex' wall and his white race-based immigration plan for another bill.

  127. If you want a progressive, yet fair & balanced, review of immigration policy, read Paul Collier's, "Exodus". One reason I trust his vision is that his grandfather, a migrant from Germany to London, was so badgered by British chauvinists that they returned to Germany after the war. A decade later, horrified by what they saw happening, they returned to Britain and changed the family name from Hellenschmidt to Collier. Paul Collier, born in 1949, is now "Sir Paul" with a professorship at Oxford. A second reason I trust him is that he treats his graduate assistants as human beings.

  128. WOW!

    It will all be filmed and recorded, so watch out GOPer's what you say will surely come back to haunt you this November.

    They will clearly wish they had not agreed to that.

    Wonderful news.

  129. Same for the Democratic Senators and Representatives.

    If you look at the seats up for the Nov election, there are more Democratic Representative seats up for election in states that President Trump carried, than Republican Representative seats in states which the other candidate carried.

  130. I know I'm "old school"

    But what ever happened to the committee system where there were hearings, staff work, and committee deliberations to mark up a bill for full Senate consideration.

    I welcome the debate, but I fear a "free for all" that is better "engaged" and resolved at the committee level.

  131. As you saw from the Republican tax cut bill with last-minute changes pencilled in the margins, the Republican method is for Republican leaders and a small group of men, with input from wealthy donors and lobbyists to put a bill together behind closed doors and make it the only choice.

    The process you describe definitely should have been used for the tax bill.

    The current immigration floor vote at least lets everyone see what is going on, so it is better than the men in secret model.

    The "regular order" you describe could take place starting next week for the broad issue of immigration if a clean DACA/Dreamers bill passed this week just to address the immediate emergency Trump created by the loss of DACA in March (what Feinstein suggested at the meeting with Trump and then Republicans shot down).

  132. Democrats should consider compromising on the wall because long after the Trump presidency it will serve as a reminder of ancient technology and wasted money. And years from now, people running for office can remind voters we are still waiting for Mexico to pay.

  133. A monument to ignorance.

  134. "Democrats should consider compromising on the wall "

    Schumer tried that to avoid the first shutdown but Trump reneged on the plan.

  135. At least they're trying a new processes, because the old process hasn't been working very well.

    The important thing to remember is that if DREAMers get their deal they need to go to the back of the line, behind the legal immigrants.

  136. We are a nation of immigrants, but we also need to be methodical:

    Provide a reasonable, faster path to citizenship, get rid of today's illogical hurdles in paperwork, deport immigrants who commit violent crimes (keep immigrants whose only crime was trying to get working papers or create a taxpayer ID so that they could pay taxes!), provide larger budget for assimilation and ESL, continue rigourous safety screening for entrants and continue to monitor social media, deny all immigrants access to guns unless they are in the military or police force (and then expand that rule to US-born citizens over time). Encourage highly educated entrants and also build a robust, replicable plan to educate less educated and illiterate entrants.

    Last, a note on assimilation - we live in a democracy where ALL people are equal, not just men, and we cannot enable or promote the subjugation of women (from any of the orthodox religions or patriarchal societies!) New entrants need to be A PART of equality, NOT APART. Canada has excellent assimilation support models that we should study to improve our processes here.

  137. I think most folks need to revisit the activities of our first big debate, i.e., the Constitution Convention. Floor debate was vigorous. The result was consented but ratification was up in the air and required much more debate. Even then it took the promise of The first Ten Amendments to gain the final document. Even the subsequent amendments were difficult to ratify, for the most part. We remain a divided country similar to several major rifts in the past.

  138. The Constitutional Convention was, above all, secret. No delegate was allowed to reveal anything about the proceedings. That is why frank debate and compromise was possible.

  139. Citizenship is supposed to mean something in a representative-democracy.

    Now we just hand it out to anyone with enough courage to break our laws.

  140. At what age do you become a criminal? 6 months, no...2 years, can't be....5,6,7 not yet....maybe when they are a teanager?
    How many toddlers have "enough courage to break our laws?"

  141. We would be an enviable nation if everyone was willing to do anything, even risk their life, for a better life for their family.

  142. Well, one thing citizenship requires is obeying laws. How many American citizens are given a break from following the law? For how many groups has a US president directed law enforcement to not enforce laws unless a serious felon is committed?

    Somewhere in this debate law abiding citizens and legal applicants have to figure.

  143. I really hope that something will be done to remove or at least reduce the green card back log for the LEGAL High Skill immigrants.

  144. Not a good idea. So many H1b visas granted on fraudulent diplomas and false resumes. Extreme vetting needed for those applying for green cards.

  145. How about we put some better treatment for those attempting to immigrate legally into this bill? They're treated like garbage at the moment, while we debate how nice to be or not to be toward those here illegally.

  146. Why can't We, the People have a vote on this?
    Why can't we have a say as to whether we want immigration to continue the way it has been since 1965?
    Or whether we want 'another amnesty' to happen?
    Some of us remember the last one being the last one in 1986.
    Legal immigration should be halved today.
    Too many people, both legal and illegal. Time out!

  147. You may want to go back to your history/social studies class. We are in a republic, not a true democracy. We are represented by the people we send to Washington DC and they decide the laws. With voter turnout at such a low percentage, That's probably a good thing.

  148. I am on the opposite side of the fence regarding immigration, but agree with you about a referendum vote about it, and not only about that but also about a national healthcare system. In a true one-person-one-vote situation, the results may surprise you. Right now the true majority is obscured and disenfranchised by gerrymandering and the obsolete electoral college, which allows the sparsely populated states that tend to be economic and social laggards to exert disproportionate influence on national policy. That must end.

  149. It may be a good idea to have a voter referendum on the issue of whether to allow Dreamers and their illegal immigrant family members who brought them here illegally to remain. Since we, the people, do not know the status of these families (whether they are prospering, integrated into society, have committed other crimes besides illegal entry, want citizenship, etc.), I believe that it's best left to the agencies that are responsible for immigration and enforcement to determine eligibility for the DACA exceptions. This is what they should do. Creating spaces for them to hide out, be exploited in the human/sex trafficking underworld, work illegally on farms or at other low paying jobs, be involved yet not complicit in crimes, etc., creates obstacles to them being here permanently, as they would be viewed as criminals, not immigrants. The longer they remain in an illegal status the more difficult it will be to grant them legal status, as they will be criminally compromised due to lack of ability to legally obtain the basics that they require to survive. The deferment may have already caused some to engage in criminal behaviors.

  150. Those of you with long memories will immediately recall that McConnell said he had made an "iron-clad promise" to Senator Susan Collins of Maine to before December 31 bring to the floor and support two health care bills that have not been seen since. And that he promised Senator Flake to bring a clean DACA bill to the floor in January. And that the current promise was that if there was no government shutdown on February 8th he would then let Democrats offer their DACA bill. Well, not only is it after February 8th, he has reneged on the terms of the promise. McConnell channels Lucy from Peanuts.
    Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me lots of times, you're Senator McConnell.

  151. Here in Kentucky we like him. He is doing what we elected him to do

  152. Not everyone in Kentucky likes him.

  153. Clearly we like him enough

  154. There are so many children who came legally in this country but their future is in jeopardy as their parents are stuck in High skilled (Employment Based) green card backlog. If the backlog is not cleared these children who came with their parents need to deport themselves from the only country they know growing up. Their situation is as dire as the dreamers.

  155. Cry me a river. How many engineers of your kind did it take to replace the one US one who trained you and got laid off for his trouble? How low is your pitiful salary? Thanks for ruining our job market at the upper end as the illegals ruined it at the bottom.

  156. You knew the rules.

  157. I read to news stories out of LA over the weekend. The Liberals are upset, but cannot make the connection. Apparently they are going to build another freeway in LA county north of the mountains that lie to the north of Pasadena. The Liberal is upset over future suburban sprawl that will come with the project and the loss of Joshua Trees and habitat of wildlife.
    You also have Disneyland raising prices by a good bit. The Liberals think it's corporate greed. Disney is the one thinking. You can either have too much crowding or raise prices.
    Actually these two problems can be blamed on the DACA kids, if not entirely, then a prime symptom of problems to come. The DACA kids who signed up should get "class B" green cards to carry with the passports they already have for international travel. No path to anything, other than paying taxes, and they can still go vote in their nation of origin.
    Even with a wall, if you get a future administration that acts like the previous one, the masses with just walk up and demand amnesty and reunification.
    LA will need to build another freeway and the progressives in Sacramento will start a new program so the low income have a tax subsidized pathway to Anaheim, and those who work for a living will find even higher ticket prices.

  158. Many millions more are going to come over with their kids in tow after this amnesty. It will NEVER end. Not in our lifetimes.

  159. You are correct that it will never end - migration has been going on for thousands of years and will go on, walls and borders and restrictions be damned. Trump thinks he can stop it, even if just in our corner of the globe. It's laughable. Even the Berlin wall failed to stop it, and people were getting shot trying to cross there.

  160. Even the low hanging fruit extension of DACA would, I think, be a major victory for this congress. If we get ourselves in gear and VOTE in November other provisions can follow.

  161. I have had the opportunity, twice in the last three years, to visit evangelical super churches, one in Texas and one in Southern California. In both cases a very significant portion of the congregation was hispanic. Both had bulletin boards loaded with flyers in Spanish. The most recent visit in Texas had a meeting set up with volunteer lawyers for Dreamers. The notion that the Democrats have a lock on the Hispanic vote is by no means certain.

  162. It is odd that so many who comment forget that it took years for the Dreamers to be brought to the US. Years of national gov'ts run by both Republican and Democratic presidents as well as years of border state governments who used the flow of "undocumented" workers to do the work US workers thought was beneath them.

    Many of us who grew up in farming regions remember the "seasonal" workers who came bringing children who had no opportunity to attend schools and families who were willing to live in the broken-down trailers and shacks available Many of us remember the exploitation by employers of "Migrant Workers". There was little pressure on employers for the "documents" of their workers.

    The families of other Dreamers came with different skills needed in the US. They built businesses, were part of communities, paid taxes and their children called the US home, all without documents.

    The Dreamers were named by Pres. Obama but not created by him. He identified them as the children who had no voice in where their parents brought them. Unlike their brothers and sisters who by chance were born in the US to citizenship, the Dreamers were not citizens but like their siblings, they felt as if the USA was home. We as a country need to see our responsibilities to the children of the workers who came without documents to work for decades.

    Borders are man made and will never be perfect. The debate is about people who came to work in the US and the children who came along.

  163. It was not work that US workers thought was beneath them. It was working that they willing to do at those LOW wages.

    I have a master's degree and make a decent living. If you me would pay $60 an hour to pick apples, I would pick apples, but that's not the prevailing wage in that industry. So when you use that canard about Americans won't do work beneath them, I stop listening. If you say Americans won't do that work at THAT WAGE, then I'll listen to your arguments.

  164. Many of us who grew up in farming regions, Americans many generations back, did not think farm labor was beneath us and performed that labor instead of subverting the nations laws. I did. My parents did. We do not have an immigration problem. We have a values problem with regard to attitudes toward work and systematic enablers of sloth and entitlement. Americans once harvested American produce. We have the idle hands. The immigration issue is a byproduct of a bigger problem.

  165. Anything, ANYTHING, is better than conniving in secrecy, leaving half the team in the dark and then springing a plan on them at the last minute. We voted these 100 people (for better or worse) into office to represent us. All of us. All sides. That's what a Democracy's all about. Anything less than that is a Trumpocracy. And I've had enough.

  166. Lol remember how Obamacare was passed?

  167. Last I checked, President Trump’s actions are what returned this decision to our elected legislature

  168. @Jake, yeah, with year's worth of committee hearings, in which Democrats added a bunch of Republican provisions that partially crippled the system, only to have no Republicans back it.

  169. Gosh - this sounds like a dream, or something I remembered from civics. . . Discussion, debate, no opening straightjacket. Could this be democracy?

  170. No, it is a Representative Republic. Citizens getting to vote on initiatives is democracy. When we allow our Representatives (Senators and House Representatives) then they are being our Representatives. You will have no vote on the final legislation. If there is any resolution.

  171. I guess the Democrats are getting their chance on DACA. I hope they don't forget that 1) they are here illegally (I grant through no fault of their own) 2) there are millions waiting behind them to come here and 3) the welfare of American CITIZENS should be the most important factor. And please stop the comments that 80% of Americans want them to stay. It all depends how you phrase the question.

  172. NPR:
    "That latest poll from the Washington Post found that 87 percent of Americans support "a program that allows undocumented immigrants to stay in the United States if they arrived here as a child, completed high school or military service and have not been convicted of a serious crime."

  173. Lynn:

    That poll doesn't exist in a vacuum. Americans support immigration enforcement too.

  174. Just want to point out quickly that you made an error. The Senate is debating illegal immigrants not undocumented immigrants. They are here illegally correct? Their parents did break our immigration laws correct? Spare us the euphemisms.

  175. Many of the immigrants entered the country legally but overstayed their visas or lost their status, for example by dropping out of or finishing school if they were here on a student visa. Others entered the country without inspection by an immigration agent (ie, entered illegally). Both groups lack proper immigration documents, so both groups are described as being undocumented. It’s not a euphemism.

  176. The correct terminology, found in Federal law, is "illegal aliens." Whether their condition is the result of breaking into the country, being brought in by parents breaking in, or overstaying a visa, they are not "undocumented immigrants" or any other kind of immigrant.

    I immigrated to the US in 1961. Legally.

  177. The "world's greatest deliberative body" debating? WOW!

  178. Maybe it's time to finally be forgiving and offer amnesty to all those lawbreaking citizens who hired folks without the proper documentation. Oops! Forgot that the only lawbreakers here are those who supplied our demand for cheap labor, drugs, etc.

  179. I think most support the prosecution of people who knowingly hire illegal labor.

  180. Under the existing law, you just have to file I-9 forms in binders, and it's all legal. Legal, but absurd.

  181. For those who said Dems were fools to believe McConnell - looks like he is holding up his end of the bargain. Genuine debate and an open process. Nice to see a bit of respect for Democracy here, allowing everyone to be heard. Whether I agree or not with the outcome, this is the way to do it.

  182. President Trump's immigration proposal is the best choice that most Americans on either side can support.

    Or, we could pass something similar to what our neighbors -- Canada and Mexico -- have for their immigration control. Surely, the democrats couldn't reject this choice?

  183. I believe I am accurate in stating that at one time (not very long ago) both Republicans and Democrats believed the U.S. is a nation of immigrants. That is why they both voted for the law that established the "diversity lottery" (correctly referred to as the Diversity Immigrant Visa program) that many - but not all - Republicans now want to repeal. It was part of the Immigration Act of 1990 signed into law by President George W. Bush. It was approved in the House and Senate by overwhelming majorities. The support was bi-partisan. You can count the number of Republicans that voted for this bill on this page: https://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cf.... You can read more about the Immigration Act of 1990 here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immigration_Act_of_1990. Were you in favor of this act or against it at the time? If you were in favor, what has caused you to change your position? Thanks Bhaskar.

  184. @David Sokal
    Thank you for the information. I cared more about my pet hamster than politics back then.
    As I travel around now, I see people whose families have lived here for generations, living in poverty, scarred by drugs, their jobs taken away, almost forgotten.
    It's painful. That's what has changed.

  185. Rather than wonder about the future of DACA legislation, one might simply plant a bug in the tangled Medusa's communication knot of Americans for Prosperity, American Legislative Enterprise Council, and the Koch brothers.

    This bug might pick up their decision, how that decision will be communicated to GOP legislators, and just how much each lawmaker will be paid for their vote on the fate of close to a million of our friends, relatives and neighbors.

  186. As a retired high school history teacher I taught my students that this is how it is supposed to work. I am glad to see that for once it is happening. Open debate and open votes how refreshing.

  187. Good! What they have been doing does not work. Each day seems to bring something new in both sides trying to work together. This is how it's supposed to work.

  188. Though many are loathe to admit it, having a president who isn't beholden to politics and that type of game-playing has actually brought some fresh air to the process. The GOP cannot control Trump, and he generally means what he says, so democrats don't have to worry he'll be forced to renege at the last moment, as Obama did, and leave them hanging.

  189. McConnell must have made a weekend trip to Colorado.

  190. It’s funny how skill based immigration is so controversial. And how a diversity lottery is for some reason something that must be maintained. Democrats do not control any lever of government. They better learn how to compromise, or these kids are getting deported

  191. If your statement, which sounds like the threat of a hostage taker, is representative of Republican legislators, it is incumbent upon Democrats to resist this sort of rule by gangster tactics. By the way, in my view, Democrats are already somewhat more inclined to compromise than Republicans. We can share examples and see who is historically more accurate. Just recently, Democrats and Republicans have signed onto a budget compromise that quickly brought to an end a government shutdown that could have gone on for weeks. Democrats gave up their insistence on a solution to the DACA question in order to accommodate the majority of voters who felt that DACA was not worth a shutdown. On the other hand, in a parallel situation, when Obama was president, Republicans shut down the government for 16 days as they were unwilling to pass an appropriations bill without a repeal of the ACA (Obamacare). According to polls, "81% of Americans disapproved of the shutdown, 86% felt it had damaged the United States' image in the world, and 53% held Republicans in Congress accountable for the shutdown." That didn't seem to deter uncompromising Republicans. (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_federal_government_shutdown_....

  192. This is the way the Senate is supposed to work.

  193. Amen. The founding fathers looked at Senate as the deliberative body.

  194. So.. they're going to try actually governing and legislating? What a concept! Tune in next week when they try to actually keep a campaign promise.

    haha. I kid.

  195. Don't punish the kids for the sins of the parents, but punish the parents. Want a clean DACA bill? I'll trade the DACA kids for sending the DACA parents back to their nations of origin without hope of returning to the United States ever again.

    We can deal with the rest later.

  196. Because it is going to require a Carte nationale d'identité for everyone to make any sense, and I'd rather get the DACA parents out and the DACA kids in before we make any moves in that direction. Then, within 10 years after we institute a card, all illegal immigrants should depart with a $1000 check and plane ticket, or face permanent deportation with no possibility of return to America. Meanwhile, the card or a valid visa should be a condition of work.

    100 nations have national ID cards, including France, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Switzerland, and their illegal immigration problem isn't nearly as bad as America's. We need one, too.

  197. So you suggest breaking up families, where parents who worked hard and sacrificed to give their children a better life should never again be allowed to visit their children and grandchildren in the homes they helped to build.

    What a party of "family values" Republicans are.

  198. No. The family can certainly stay together, go home, and reapply for entry to the United States together... just like the several hundred thousand or million people in their home countries who did not attempt to break the law.

  199. Interesting article regarding the billions paid into Social Security by undocumented workers who come simply to work and make a living. They use a fake SS card, employers turn a blind eye, and bingo, the coffers grow. Year after year after year. This never seems to be a part of the conversation.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/09/undocumented-immigr...

  200. Well, what is the net-net? Two kids in public school at a cost of $15K each? You'd have to pay a lot of FICA to cover that.

  201. Well, this is good news. However, I have fears, mainly for the Democrats. They may find themselves in a Catch-22, faced with the dilemma of a possible Republican ploy to hold our Dreamers hostage in order to pass a more rigid immigration bill contrary to the Dems core beliefs re this issue.

    Perhaps, they can come to a reasonable compromise that will make it to the House. Then the worries really begin. However, time is indeed running out for our DACA recipients. There is a strong possibility that per "habit" an overall immigration reform bill will be postponed "for a later date." This is where I believe we need to actively join the debate...that being insist that there be a stand-alone bill/law that will allow these young productive adults to stay here with the promise of eventual citizenship. We have a moral and ethical responsibility to them, and should do more than just sit, fret, and watch.

  202. "“For a lot of us, we’re going to have to learn this process,” said Senator Mike Rounds, Republican of South Dakota, who was elected in 2014."

    Reading things like this just make me feel so hopeless. A tear actually swelled in my eye. We have passed the event horizon.

  203. Every decision that the Democrats make until November must be appropriately calibrated to win back the House and the Senate. Nothing. No single issue is as important as gaining majority control of Congress. Then in November, we can begin to overturn these calamitous policies of the Trump administration and start to address the real priorities of the "majority" of our Democracy and the American people.

  204. Alas, Harrison - with every seat in both houses filled with Democrats, we could not undo some of the things Trump has done. I've learned a lot about the power of the president in this go-round. We can't undo all the damage (Gorsuch, for example), but we can possibly stop more from happening. Let us hope.

  205. It's precisely this strategy that interferes with legislating. Pelosi is following this strategy, riling up anger in the base to galvanize different identity groups (a/k/a "whipping" the base).

    To people who do not want compromise, we should "Just Say No."

  206. The DACA children didn't choose to be here. Give them citizenship and have done with it. They're Americans.

    The 11 million undocumented folks are also here. Instead of arguing for another decade and getting nowhere, let's be smart like the Romans and bring them into the fold. Offer them citizenship with a $10,000 price tag payable over 15 years (or whatever amount and whatever period). That'll bring in 110 billion dollars if I'm counting my zeros correctly. Not a paltry amount, plus all the taxes they'll pay etc. etc. Plus savings on not arresting and locking up and deporting people who are already working in the USA.
    Also vastly reduce the hot air coming out of Congress which will improve the climate there.
    Is it fair? No, but lots of things aren't fair. Grownups (not many of those in Congress and none in the White House these days) deal with reality. If I want to hear fairy tales I'll read to my granddaughters. From the government I'd like something a little more grounded.
    No, I won't hold my breath.

  207. What is unfair about creating a pathway to citizenship for people who are currently undocumented? The fact that others came here legally? I don't necessarily see it that way. Those who came here illegally probably had less choice than those others. Bad luck, lack of resources, desperation to escape miserable conditions, etc. put them at a disadvantage to those who came legally. A pathway to citizenship will still put them through the same background checks and require them to overcome the same, or even greater obstacles, than legal immigrants faced. On the other hand, I'm sure you can find many examples of legal immigrants who faced similar obstacles, but opted for the legal path. Were they doing so out of respect for U.S. laws or were they merely gambling that this route would work out better in the long run? Finally, the moral good of the whole has to be considered, as you've said. What is good for the nation isn't necessarily blind adherence to outdated laws. That's why we have a legislature that can change the laws when a level of consensus is reached on new laws that will achieve an overall purpose such as peacefully assimilating immigrants who will become positive contributors to the whole. This of course boils down to whether or not you view immigration as a net positive. Those who don't are lacking in knowledge of U.S. history, basic economics, and, in many cases, are deluded about the causes of their own lack of satisfactory conditions.

  208. Better to go out with a bang than a whimper. I think transparency and open discussion of the many sides of the immigration issue is what the American public demands and deserves from its Senate. Whether or not DACA was legal it was still viewed as a promise by the Dreamers and the American public who feel as though families matter more than laws. People are aware that this will cost money. As I have learned over the course of my life (sometimes painfully), you have to choose what things or projects or people to financially back. This is worth supporting as a one time effort to preserve families and keep a promise that, whether legal or not, most Dreamers and Americans believe in and are expecting will come to pass for this vulnerable population inhabiting our country. If this country cannot give them the chance promised it should safely transport them to countries that will.

  209. I think you are misunderstanding the supposed legal status question. They are only "illegal" until the laws are changed. That is exactly what Congress is discussing. The question is, do the technicalities of current immigration law match up to our moral principles. In this case they clearly don't. A minor brought to this country by his or her parent(s) cannot be seen as culpable in the breach of law committed by their parents. Clearly, it would be immoral to deport them. As such, the laws must be changed.

  210. It would be dishonest to pretend that this can be done as a "one time effort". There will continue to be children brought into the country illegally. The responsible thing to do is to have a serious debate about a sustainable response that we can live with. Simply kicking them out isn't one. A "one time" amnesty will have us dealing with the same issue over and over with new groups of illegal immigrant's children.

  211. Perhaps I was hasty in not including in the remark that I believe in legal immigration. That we are a republic, a nation of laws, has not escaped my attention. I just believe that these children, some of whom are adults, are already integrated into our society, thus deportation would damage not just them but us as well. For the sake of continuity of this cohesion we should revise the immigration law so that it doesn't apply to those who were not complicit in breaking them. It would be a one time provision that revised immigration laws and enhanced enforcement would ensure will not recur.

  212. As someone very sympathetic to the "liberal activists" cited in article, I'm amazed at how blind they are. Do they real!y believe that a party with minorities in both chambers can get a bill signed by Trump w/o compromising? Wake up a and smell the reality already!

  213. Democrats have the option of blocking action now, hoping that the administration will refrain from an all out assault on DACA recipients and then, once the Democrats have taken over Congress, doing the right thing. This will require either overriding the President's veto or waiting until he is removed. Giving in to what is likely to become a long-term isolationist immigration policy, for the sake of protecting a limited number of people may not be the best move in the big picture of things. I'm not saying this is my assessment of the situation but it isn't necessarily being "blind" to take this longer term view. Progressives have accomplished a lot by taking the long term view (as have conservatives). When they have a majority as they did in the first two years of the Obama administration, they can move forward boldly. When reactionaries are in command, blocking their reactionary policies may be seen as a relative positive. I also don't necessarily see it as sacrificing DACA recipients. It is the Republicans who are using them as hostages to gain repeal of progressive immigration policies (that they themselves supported in the past). Ultimately, the question is what is the lessor of the two evils presented to the Democratic minority.

  214. @David - If they do that, then they are very unlikely to take over Congress. Not many voters will supporter a party that puts the rights of illegal immigrants ahead of the rights of American citizens.

  215. This is the most exciting thing to come out of Congress in ages. If they want to restore faith in the institution, this is one step toward doing so.

    Open debate on an issue that matters to a lot of people and on which there is a great range of opinions … why, it's almost like actual legislating!

  216. I wish there were more of this. Its time for the Senators to speak, on the record, about their positions on immigration--they've been hiding behind proxies for too long. If we want an outcome that results in true compromise--like, say, citizenship for the Dreamers and ending our ridiculous birthright laws, it will take both sides conceding some ground. I'm all for a humane solution that also ends up with us having tough but fair and enforceable immigration policy.

  217. It would be nice if the debate started off with a discussion about the premise that the future welfare of the 690,000 Dreamers can be used as bargaining chip in a legislative debate. The threat of deporting law abiding members of our community, to unfamiliar countries they left as small children, is a quid pro quo that promises to harm hundreds of thousands of people. Give me what I want or I'll hurt all of them.

    In retrospect one might assume that Trump put the future of the Dreamers' well being in jeopardy precisely to use them as an offering in return for wall funding and immigration legislation. This is not politics, it is cruelty. And contrary to any supposed human values we thought our country stood for.

  218. Don't ask how the sausage is made, just enjoy the taste.

  219. "They" aren't the ones who broke any laws, so "they" aren't deserving of deportation.

  220. The fact that people are in this country belies the premise they are 'law-abiding'.

  221. This structure for putting together a bill is a useful change for what has become a dysfunctional system. Traditionally, Congress worked on the basis of committees, with the rationale that no Member could be knowledgeable about everything, that participation on a given committee would help the Members to learn the subject matter.

    As that system has not worked for a decade or so, this open-ended floor debate may well be a good way to get things moving again. However, one should be cautious about endorsing it as a precedent, inasmuch as the rationale for committees still is valid. One hundred mostly know-nothings will not in the course of ordinary legislation produce a better result than ten know-somethings.

    Also, it is legitimate to argue that illegality should not be rewarded, that illegal immigrants are just that, illegal. However, I would ask those who think it is a simple, clearcut issue whether they believe that those who act illegally by speeding or DUI should have their driving license yanked on a first offense, whether spouse abusers should be allowed a license to marry again, or whether a corporation that violates the law through fraud should be allowed to keep its license to operate?

    If you answer consistently, I will respect your opinion that illegals are simply illegals. If not, if you think there should be some nuance in applying the indicated penalties for the illegal acts, then I expect you will also approach the question of illegal immigrants in like manner.

  222. The DACA discussion is not a matter of consistency in one's judgement about the degree of punishment called for on the basis of the particulars of an offense. It is a question of morality versus legality. Clearly a dependent brought to the U.S. is not culpable for the breach of law committed by their parent(s). Thus, it is clearly a moral obligation to adjust the law to fit our moral principles. Furthermore, there is no question here of "rewarding" bad behavior. If you carefully read the DREAM Act (sponsored by Graham, Durbin, Flake and Schumer, https://www.congress.gov/115/bills/s1615/BILLS-115s1615is.pdf) that is currently being debated in the Senate, it isn't rewarding anyone for misbehavior. That is a complete falsification. The bill clearly places the onus on the applicant to prove they will make as good a citizen of the U.S. as anyone else who currently enjoys that status. Less than a "pathway to citizenship" the act is an obstacle course to citizenship.

  223. David, thank you for your addition to the discussion !

  224. I would suggest to Nancy she puts on some more sensible footwear for this next battle.

  225. The Senate is supposed to be a deliberative body, kudos for them getting back to that, even if it’s only for show, although the wee bit of optimism left in me hopes it is not.

  226. Why can't this be done with every bill?

    The idea that the majority party gets to decide what is debated and discussed is antithetical to democracy. If the minority party's idea doesn't have the votes to clear a committee or the chamber as a whole, then so be it. But what possible excuse can there be to censor debate in either house of Congress?

    We need more debate in this country, not less, and we need Congress to quit playing power games so much and focus more on actually deliberating about what are good policies. Partisan blocking of debate and discussion serves no useful purpose.

  227. Yes, quite so, let's check with Harry Reid. Why did he control the senate's agenda with an iron hand when the Democrats controlled the senate?

  228. Dear CastleMan,

    The reason is because the US is not, nor has it ever been, nor did the Founding Fathers ever want it to be a democracy. They had studied history and saw how the Athenian experiment imploded.

    In any event, the rule of the majority of those elected representatives is hardly "antithetical to democracy". The minority never gets to rule.

  229. My, shades of the Founding Fathers!

    Just think: the possibility of an honest to god civil and multisided debate. To be sure there will be fireworks and theater, but at least some actual discourse - and maybe concurrence - will occur.

  230. Hopefully the discussions will cut through all the PR talking points, hyper-partisan gamesmanship and media shenanigans, but I won't hold my breath.

    Definition of Insanity is "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results". As part of DACA legalization there have to be common sense solutions for tighter border security, enforceable immigration laws with additional judges, agents to resolve cases quickly and equitably, special conditions for DACA recipients on family sponsorship, critical look at shutting down on random green card lottery (especially after the NY Terror incident), e-verify expansion that will give confidence to Americans that there is a process that is reliable while being sympathetic to the DACA recipients.

    On immigration at some point laws have to be respected and enforced. The world 100 or 200 years ago was different. With Automation, Mechanization and overpopulation we are a different country in a different world and a judicious balance of being an open society has to be found while at the same time focus on the well being of the citizens who are suffering from the degradation of education, environment, infrastructure.

    If not by above definition, we are by definition Insane.

  231. A cynic would say that the politicians actually ARE hoping to get the same results, just telling us otherwise. No insanity, just liars and dupes.

  232. From the article: "At the same time, the idea of an open-ended debate is so novel that many newer senators say they have never experienced one, and are scurrying to learn the rules." The corporate overlords have not allowed such a thing in quite a while. Make the most of it, America.

  233. Why is universal (all employers), mandatory E-Verify (with serious criminal penalties for employers) not one of the "pillars"? The great majority, if not all, illegal immigrants come and risk arrest to "make a better life" for themselves and any children they bring here or produce after coming, correct? As long as they can get jobs, they will continue to take the risk. E-verify goes hand and hand with border security. The goal should be to stop the flow. If businesses continue to hire, the border will continue to be breached one way or another, no matter how tall the wall is. If they can't come to the "promised land" by land, they will come by sea. Our coastlines can't be walled off, you know.

  234. Two parties are working on this issue. One party despises immmigrants, the other party cynically feigns concern for them to boost their electoral prospects.

    The results will be about what you'd expect in such a situation.

  235. "Despises immigrants" is an odd thing to say about Trump and McConnel who are both married to immigrants.

  236. Imagine your kids for a second, Mr Cruz.

    They were born into your family, with a hispanic sounding name, and as far as anyone can presume, grew as earnest patriotic Americans as best they knew how.

    Now it appears through a technicality of questionable parenting they’re entire lives are being thrown into doubt.

    Perhaps their skin is typically a shade darker than yours, Ted.
    But if you are to treat fellow Americans as something to be extracted and ridden for their poor fortune or background, you have no place serving this nation of immigrations, and irrefutably a heart of stone — if one at all.

  237. Don't forget Mao Tse Tung said, "Let a thousand flowers bloom," and when some people took him at his word, they were sent to hard labor in re-education camps.

  238. Dear Richard Watt,

    I think the Senator was being ironic. He kept his word to hold the debate, but clearly sees no hope for any useful conclusion.

  239. "Whoever gets to 60 wins...."
    I'm thinking "Lord of the Flies". How about what's in the best interest of the United States of America.?

  240. If I wanted to see a show I'd buy tickets to Hamilton.

  241. How unique, the self described greatest deliberative body on earth actually deliberating on something? I suspect this will not work well for "progressives" it might require honesty.

  242. Deliberation. Debate. Who knew that such things were even possible?

  243. As long as the attempt to reform immigration laws is led from the Senate, the effort is doomed to fail. If we want a bill, it must originate in the HOR, specifically in the House Judiciary Committee. As the bill would begin in the HOR, its provisions would have to be almost exclusively those desired by the Republican majority. After passage in the HOR, the bill would go to the Senate, where a bipartisan group from the Senate Judiciary Committee could modify (and probably soften) its provisions. The amended bill could pass the Senate and the be sent to a conference committee for reconciliation. This procedure is the normal way legislation become law and is the only way to reform immigration laws. All other attempts are doomed to failure, as we have seen in three previous attempts.

  244. The "progressive" democrats will be forced to acknowledge there is a difference between "legal" and "illegal" immigration. Should be interesting.

  245. When Ted Cruz is the only person on the other side, for once you know you must be doing something however small right.

  246. The Secure and Succeed Act is the way to go.
    Yes, lets have the debate.
    But there is nothing in it which Dems should oppose.
    An open debate will make that clear.
    There is absolutely no justification for footdragging on taking strong measures, here and now, for strong immigration enforcement so that there will not be any Dreamer 2.0 scenario.
    And absolutely no justification for mere genuflections about border security with mere half-measures and quarter-measures.
    Furthermore, legal status for Dreamers ought never be a model for legal status for any other illegal immigrants.
    The only justification for granting legal status to the Dreamers is that supposedly they were brought here through no fault of their own.
    Then whose fault was it?
    Their parents fault of course.
    Consequently, nothing in any supposed solution to the Dreamers situation should never result in any legal status for those who were at fault -- their parents.
    Above all, immigration and immigration law needs to serve the interests of Americans and America -- not the interests of others.
    And certainly not the interests of any persons who were not brought here as children.