Contest over immigration law looms

As senators working in committee mark up a bill to reform the country’s immigration system this week, supporters and opponents are preparing for a fight. The Senate’s most recent attempt at immigration failed, reports the Associated Press:

Last time around, in 2007, angry calls overwhelmed the Senate switchboard, and lawmakers endured raging town hall meetings and threats from incensed constituents. The legislation ultimately collapsed on the Senate floor.

“I’ve been through this battle, and it’s ugly,” said former Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., who supported the bill. “My phones were jammed for three weeks and I got three death threats, one of which I turned over to the FBI. So it’s rough business.”

On Sunday, Jim DeMint, president of the Heritage Foundation, claimed that the bill would be unfair and costly, writes Sean Sullivan:

“The bill that’s being presented is unfair to those who came here legally, it will cost Americans trillions of dollars, it will make our unlawful immigration system worse,” DeMint, a former South Carolina Republican senator, said on ABC News’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos.”

The Washington Post’s editorial board, reviewing several prominent provisions of the bill, writes that conservative opponents are using a “stale old playbook”:

They will cry “amnesty.” They’ll argue that reforms should be piecemeal, leaving citizenship for another day (i.e. never). They’ll insist on an unattainable metrics of border security.

Americans have grown tired of such pretexts. In polls, they overwhelmingly favor legalization and a path to citizenship. That, and Republican alarm at losing the Latino vote, have generated fresh momentum to fix the nation’s broken immigration system.

For more on immigration from around the Web, visit Wonkblog.

Max Ehrenfreund writes for Wonkblog and compiles Wonkbook, a daily policy newsletter. You can subscribe here. Before joining The Washington Post, Ehrenfreund wrote for the Washington Monthly and The Sacramento Bee.

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