From Rich Stolz, Campaign Manager, RI4A Campaign:
Here is a relatively succinct summary of where we are with regard to comprehensive immigration reform legislation.
Senator Schumer and Senator Graham have both affirmed that they will continue to work with each other on comprehensive immigration reform legislation, despite Graham’s comments following the healthcare bills enactment. Â Senator Schumer’s staff has legislative language for most of the bill (though we haven’t yet seen it), but the major exception is the treatment of the future flow program with regard to low-wage workers.
Therefore, the major next hurdle will be the deal that labor and industry interests will need to seal. Â We can’t predict how long this will take, but we do know that business interests from a wide range of industries are meeting with White House and Senate staff, that the Chamber of Commerce has expressed willingness to push forward, and that representatives of the AFL and other unions are also prepared to deal. Â Senator Schumer has met with AFL President Trumka, and we are now trying to figure out how the negotiations will actually proceed.
To create pressure on this process we’ve pressed the White House and Senate leadership on a deadline for getting a bill by the end of April; by May 1st we’ll be able to assess if the President and Schumer are serious, or if we’re simply being strung along. If they are serious, we would have a bill by the middle of May, and would go to Senate Judiciary committee mark-up quickly.
To make this pressure real, the campaign has worked with local partners or through its own staff to hold maor events with key senators in Seattle, Las Vegas, Chicago, and other cities on April 10th. Â We hope to have large events with all the Democratic senate leadership before the end of April. Â We are also driving toward the release of a score card by the end of April, and are in the process of trying to confirm “on the record” support from those senators we anticipate will vote for CIR. Â We’re also going to double down in some key states that are home to Senate Republicans and/or moderate Senate Democrats. Â We will also be throwing down in a number of places on May 1st under the banner of comprehensive immigration reform and the need for administrative relief from deportations. Â We’ll also publicly signal on May 1st our willingness to ramp up a number of more militant tactics (resistance, civil disobedience, etc.) calling attention to the moral crisis that demands reform. Â Whatever happens with legislation, we’ll be prepared to escalate past May 1st.
We do not know at this point in time if this will get us a bill. We’re confident that we can pass a bill through committee. On the Senate floor, though the content of the legislation is not known, we are almost certain of 40 Democratic votes (Senator Reid has indicated he believes he can get more than 50 Democratic votes). Â There are about 15 moderate Democratic senators in play, and 10 more Republican senators in play. We have a decent chance at reaching the magic number of 60. Â The wild card will be the White House and their ability to hold Democrats and the content of the bill. We can’t be certain until we have legislation moving through the House Judiciary Committee, but we think we have the votes in the House.
There are a host of other external and internal factors in play, but this is a run-down of the current plan and timeline. Â As you can see, the next four to five weeks are critical. Â As a campaign, we’re likely to pull together a broad set of discussions in mid-May that will either assess how folks across the movement feel about a bill, and what the campaign should do in the event we do not have a bill.