Via @ tv.msnbc.com
Senator John McCain isn’t ready to concede that House Republicans
won’t pass real immigration reform. But he is watching the clock.
“It’s very important that we try to act before the end of this year,”
McCain said at a town hall in Mesa, Arizona, on Tuesday. Waiting any
longer will run into campaign season. But given looming battles over
funding the government and increasing the debt ceiling, passing
immigration legislation before 2014 may be unrealistic.
“I remain guardedly optimistic that our friends in the House of
Representatives will agree to their legislative process and then we can
get to conference,” McCain, who was joined by fellow Arizona Republican
Senator Jeff Flake, told the audience. He cited the array of interests
backing reform, including major business groups, labor unions, and
evangelical organizations, as evidence of its momentum.
House leaders are moving forward with a series of bills on border
security and visa programs, but they’ve yet to decide how–and whether–to
offer legal status and a path to citizenship to the estimated 11
million undocumented immigrants living in America today. McCain is still
hoping the House will support a citizenship component in a final deal.
“I don’t accept your premise that the House of Representatives will
absolutely reject a path to citizenship,” McCain told a reporter at the
forum. “I think we’ll know more in two or three months.”
The Senate bill would require undocumented immigrants to meet a
variety of requirements, including paying a fine and learning English,
in order to obtain citizenship. The process would take at least 13 years
for most eligible applicants. But among House Republicans, it’s not
clear that the caucus supports even limited legal status for
undocumented immigrants. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, chair of the House
Judiciary Committee overseeing immigration legislation, recently
suggested that even immigrants who were brought to the country illegally
as children should not get a new path to citizenship. Continue Reading @ McCain stubbornly believes the House can pass immigration reform