Immigration Reform 2013: The Gang of 8 Has Bigger Problems Than Border Security

Marco Rubio's Gang of Eight is facing a few more snags than just the tightening of border security measures in their upcoming bill, due to be introduced on the Senate floor June 10.

Latest reports detail the political challenges on the matter of honing security on our shared border with Mexico and suggest that partisan members could come to blows on whether measures in the bill are comprehensive enough to ensure deterrence of and action against incoming illegal immigrants.

Negotiating additional triggers has prooven contentious, as members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have voted down at least one measure that would require a simple majority vote in each the House and Senate to approve border plans by DHS before any illegal immigrants can receive temporary status. That plan would have required congressional certification of the plans before green cards were issued.

The number of Democrats who sided against this provision is indicative of challenges ahead on the Senate floor.

Despite Senator Chuck Schumer's optimism, this bill also faces logistical issues in addition to the substantive ones.  In the Senate alone, the bill needs at least 70 votes to pass, which would require almost every Democrat to participate and a majority of Republicans.

Warnings from the Republican-led House are already firing from hardline members such as Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) that the package won't make traction in the House and acknowledged GOP work on their own product. The GOP's preferred manner of addressing the immigration debacle, according to her, is by one piece at a time.

These issues are also inclusive of an ongoing debate about providing a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants who are already here. Legal status would bring in an alleged $1.5 trillion in GDP over a decade plus $4.5-5.4 billion in net tax revenue over just three years. This could be a compelling argument to budget-concerned Republicans who support increased security on the border, but seemingly ignore the $18 billion dollar price tag of last year’s immigration enforcement spending alone.

Between striking the nuanced balance of what the Democrats want for a pathway to citizenship and what Republicans want for increased border security, this bill passing out of the Senate seems unlikely at best ... but not impossible. In the event the passage does occur, the bill will struggle to reach the support it needs in the House where Majority Speaker John Boehner assures the public that a deal in the House will be struck but doesn’t "yet know how."

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