Comment: Gang of Eight
There has been a lot in the news media about immigration's Gang of Eight; we would like to take a step back and analyze why these eight senators have not only become so actively involved in CIR, but also why they have joined forces on this issue. The Gang of Eight is composed of four Democrats and four Republicans. The Democrats include: Sens. Michael Bennet (CO), Dick Durbin (IL), Robert Menendez (NJ), and Chuck Schumer (NY). The Republicans include: Sens. Jeff Flake (AZ), Lindsey Graham (SC), Marco Rubio (FL), and John McCain (AZ). Now to take a closer look, individually, at why these senators have become involved in this cause:
Sen. Michael Bennet, who is also the Chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, has been an advocate of bipartisan immigration reform since his election into the Senate in 2010. He has been rather outspoken about establishing a "sensible path forward" for undocumented immigrants.
Sen. Dick Durbin, the Senate Majority Leader, authored the original DREAM Act and it only makes sense that he would continue to be involved in immigration reform to ensure that the bipartisan talks do not stray too far from its original intent.
Sen. Robert Menendez is a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and introduced a CIR bill in 2010. Sen. Menendez has been a supporter of the DREAM Act since its introduction and will play a key part in any bipartisan reform that takes place.
Sen. Chuck Schumer is the chairman of the Immigration, Border Security, and Citizenship subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee. Senators Schumer and Graham tried unsuccessfully in 2010 to hold bipartisan immigration reform talks and once again following the election last year.
Sen. Jeff Flake has worked with Rep. Luis Guitierrez (D-IL) on a path for citizenship for undocumented immigrants and on a guest worker program. In addition to these issues, Sen. Flake is involved in the bipartisan efforts towards CIR this time around in order to better border security.
Sen. Lindsey Graham has been a long-time supporter of immigration reform and has noted on several occasions that the Republican Party must take it up as a primary issue in order to maintain any legitimacy in current politics.
Sen. Marco Rubio, while a proponent of immigration reform, was, at first, not keen on the Gang of Eight's approach to immigration reform. This resistance was a result of him having his own policy which he planned on advocating. However, the Gang of Eight and the Republican Party have assured him that his policy will be implemented into whatever reform is passed.
Sen. John McCain is another member of the Gang of Eight who has been a long-time supporter of immigration reform. He pushed for a CIR overhaul in 2006 and failed. Now back in the CIR spotlight, McCain continues to be a proponent of reform. Sen. McCain took an anti-immigrant disposition following his loss in the Presidential elections of 2008. For many years, he focused on border enforcement and even supported SB 1070. However, he now understands the importance of immigration reform and can be seen as a valuable member of the Eight.
The efforts put forth by the bipartisan Gang of Eight are commendable yet the success cannot be determined until something has solidified. Share your thoughts by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org
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