The same can not be said for opponents of reform, many of whom will sooner or later pay a price.
McCain told CNN's Candy Crowley that conservatve voters would be satisfied if border security provisions are strong. Polls back him up on this. And he also is hinting at a secret the anti-immigrant groups would rather people not know - they don't actually represent a lot of people. They just represent very LOUD people who apparently have plenty of time on their hands to pollute the comments sections of every mainstream publication that reports on immigration and to bombard members of Congress with their message. Public opinion polls show the real picture and it is of a solid majority of Americans backing the kind of reform being proposed by Senator McCain.
Cantor Praises Labor, Business Guest Worker Compromise
Cantor hasn't endorsed full-on immigration reform, but his remarks lately have been getting better and better. Recently, he suggested he supports the DREAM Act and now he's praising a guest worker strategy. He's still not saying what he thinks about a broader legalization program, but I suspect he's as concerned about the GOP's national brand as people like Karl Rove and Jeb Bush. But he's in a more precarious position given his role in a House that is filled with a lot of anti-immigrants.
“I applaud the Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO for coming together to find common ground in an effort to reform our broken immigration system," said Cantor in a statement. "Their goal of protecting American workers and ensuring we have the workforce we need to grow the economy and remain globally competitive is one I share. While we may not agree on every aspect, it is encouraging that two groups often on opposite sides of the aisle are serious about putting politics aside and finding solutions. Let’s hope we can follow that lead in the months ahead.”
One of the House's key pro-immigration Republicans, Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida, is optimistic over immigration reform's prospects for passage. According to The Hill:
A bipartisan House group is making “really good progress” on immigration reform legislation despite missing a target date for an agreement, a top Republican participant said.
“I am now more sure than ever that we’re going to have a bipartisan bill,” a longtime advocate of comprehensive reform, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), said in an interview. “We’re making incredible progress.”
Diaz-Balart is one of four Republicans in the House's own "Gang of Eight" working on reform legislation. I visited the Hill last week and stopped by more than a dozen Senate and House offices meeting with key staffers working on reform legislation and they are optimist, though understandably nervous. Some have been around long enough to know that the whole thing can derail quickly. On the other hand, I visited offices of some members of Congress who would hardly be seen as big supporters of reform and heard more moderation on this issue than I've experienced in many years working on these issues. So I don't think Diaz-Balart is just spinning people.
Democrats working in the House were also encouraged by Diaz-Balart's remarks:
The Democratic members of the House immigration group – Reps. Luis Gutierrez (Ill.), Xavier Becerra (Calif.) and Zoe Lofgren (Calif.) — were unavailable for interviews, but aides backed up Diaz-Balart’s status report.
“If he’s optimistic, I would be optimistic,” one Democratic aide said.
These days in Washington, it's hard to find Republicans with nice things to say about the President and vice versa. So I'm encouraged by the report that the meeting between pro-immigration Republican Senators working on the immigration bill and the President went well. The two sides apparently spent a fair amount of time talk about border enforcement and the Republicans seemed satisfied that their concerns were shared by the President.
Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on Tuesday they came out of a meeting with President Barack Obama more confident that he understands their argument that border security must be given prominent weight in plans for comprehensive immigration reform.
"It was one of the best meetings I've ever had with the president," Graham told reporters.
"He understands we need border security that we can afford, and Senator McCain made a strong point about the border," he added later. "The president understands the working components of it, so I was, quite frankly, encouraged."
McCain wouldn't comment on what he told the president, but also said Obama seemed to be listening to his concerns about the southwest border.
"I am more confident after our conversation today," he told reporters.
Greg Siskind is a partner in Siskind Susser's Memphis, Tennessee, office. After graduating magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University, he received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Chicago. Mr. Siskind is a member of AILA, a board member of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and a member of the ABA, where he serves on the LPM Publishing Board as Marketing Vice Chairman. He is the author of several books, including the J Visa Guidebook and The Lawyer's Guide to Marketing on the Internet. Mr. Siskind practices all areas of immigration law, specializing in immigration matters of the health care and technology industries. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.