Schumer: Border Status Not an Immigration Dealbreaker

Saturday, 02 Feb 2013 12:02 PM

By By David Yonkman, Newsmax Washington Correspondent

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Sen. Chuck Schumer may have undercut fellow Sen. Marco Rubio by saying that border enforcement does not necessarily need to be paired with a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

Rubio, a Florida Republican who is a potential 2016 presidential candidate, participated in New York Democrat Schumer’s recent announcement on immigration overhaul largely because of that contingency, The Daily Caller reported. The announced framework was built in part on Rubio’s proposal to tie citizenship for America’s estimated 11 million immigrants to an independent group that would declare when the border is secure.

Rubio said on Rush Limbaugh’s radio program that “If, in fact, this bill does not have real triggers in there, if there is not language in this bill that guarantees that nothing else will happen unless these enforcement mechanisms are in place, I won’t support it,” he said.

Many House conservatives say that coupling border security with a pathway to citizenship is a key issue to address, but it would be just one among many others such as the potential costs of an immigration bill.

“When you legalize those who are in the country illegally, it costs taxpayers millions of dollars, costs American workers thousands of jobs and encourages more illegal immigration,” Republican U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas said.

Steve Camarota with the Center for Immigration Studies tells Newsmax that the vast majority of current legal immigrant households are headed by someone with a high school level of education or less. He added that another high percentage of legal and illegal immigrants already use one or more federal government social services such as free school lunch, public or rent subsidized housing, and health care.

Those expensive costs could suddenly reach into the tens of billions of dollars should Congress grant current illegal immigrants amnesty, Camarota explained.

“Legal immigrants with little education use social programs at a very high rate,” he said. “How is legalizing illegal immigrants with the propensity to use public services good for taxpayers?”

Still, addressing enforcing current law is still critical to the success of an immigration reform bill in the House. Texas Republican U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert is among those who remain adamant that no deal can be reached without first addressing border security.

"If we make sure we know who's coming into the country, you'd be amazed at how fast we could get a deal on immigration," Gohmert tells Newsmax.

U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, who is reportedly part of an informal bipartisan group working on immigration reform in the House, tells Newsmax that, “It’s the old adage that the devil’s in the details."

The Florida Republican said that he was encouraged by the Senate’s “Gang of Eight” work on guidelines and principles.

However, he said, “It’s very complex, very controversial and very emotional. If anybody thinks it’s a done deal, they don’t understand the issue."

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