As I was saying …

Legislating by compromise

When U.S. Sens. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) and John Kyl (R-Ariz.) get together to write legislation, you know things are going to be interesting. And watching the development of the most recent iteration of an immigration reform bill was nothing short of fascinating.

It happened that NRCA's Political Insiders Council—composed of significant contributors to its political action committee, ROOFPAC—was in Washington, D.C., in May on the day a deal was reached on an immigration reform bill in the Senate. Press conferences were called to celebrate the agreement just as talk radio hosts took to the air to deride it.

All the announced—and some of the as-yet unannounced—presidential candidates either took predictable positions or decided to wait for the polls to tell them what to do.

The new bill was developed with the involvement of all sorts of special interest groups and is predictably complicated. Such is the business of legislation by com­promise. If the new bill passes in its current form, we will see immigration quotas increase significantly; a new temporary worker program initiated; much tougher border security; a new electronic system for employer verification; and a path to citizenship for the 12 million undocumented workers currently in the U.S. These are all elements of immigration reform NRCA supports.