Immigration Reform Gains in the US Senate, Faces Uphill Battle in the House; Connecticut Ahead of the Curve

Join Brad Drazen, Kerri-Lee Mayland and me Monday morning at 6:30 as we discuss the latest on immigration reform and what it means to Connecticut.

Despite changes to the Gang of Eight immigration reform bill that include a “border security surge,” the measure still faces serious challenges in the US House. Meanwhile, Connecticut legislative leaders watch intently to see if Congress might follow the state’s lead on key issues.

Over the past two years, the General Assembly has waded into immigration issues in a big way. First, by passing the state’s version of the Dream Act allowing undocumented students pay in-state tuition rates for college, then by passing legislation allowing illegals to obtain a Connecticut drivers license. Both measures were controversial particularly the latter.

This week, an amendment was offered and passed to placate some Republican opposition to the immigration reform bill. It includes nearly what is being revered to as the “border surge”—nearly $30 billion for new technology, tens of thousands of more border patrol agents and 700 miles of new fencing. The changes may mean as many as 70 senators will now support the bill obviously including many Republicans.

The House is a different matter. The Republican-controlled chamber still has problems that are basically sequential. Many lawmakers don’t want border security and implementation of a path to citizenship to happen at the same time. They want the border secured first, then, in separate bill in the future, deal with citizenship.

It remains to be seen if any House Republicans are swayed by a report this past week from the Congressional Budget Office that showed the Senate bill would reduce the deficit by $197 billion over 10 years and $700 billion over 20 years achieved by having new workers and taxpayers in the U.S. economy. The size of the economy would also grow by 3.3 percent in 2023 and 5.4 percent in 2033.

President Obama made immigration the subject of his weekly radio address Saturday.

The Republican weekly radio address dealt with student loan rates.