Conservative opposition to immigration reform is centering on border security. Many liberals think the costly border security program in the bill is enough. They note that undocumented border crossings have gone down sharply.
The conservatives want to increase spending on border-security enforcement. They want undocumented residents to wait for visas for more than the 13 years in the current bill.
Another area of dispute is whether Republicans will continue to say the path to citizenship is simply “amnesty.” The word was used when the 1986 immigration reform bill passed. That law did not end border crossing as it was supposed to do.
The head of the union of Immigration and Customs Enforcement is leading the attack on the bill. He calls the bill a “tragedy” that will allow more criminals into the country. He also says the bill is too vague to enforce. He is putting pressure on Senator Marco Rubio, a conservative Republican from Florida, who leads the reform effort.
The Democrats would like to send the bill to the House with 70 “yes” votes including Republicans. If they have to weaken the bill too much to get the votes, they might choose to seek fewer votes. Their bottom line is a clear pathway to citizenship.
An advocate said, “We are concerned that Senator Rubio not give away the store to get Republican votes. Is there wiggle room on border security for Republicans to grow the vote? Yes.”
Other ideas seem aimed at killing the bill. One senator wants to require “Dreamers” to graduate from college before they can apply for a visa. Dreamers are young people brought to the U.S. by their parents. Many work in addition to going to school, and take much longer to finish school.
The House of Representatives has not yet presented a bill. The House is more conservative than the Senate. No one really knows what will happen there if the Senate bill passes and is sent to them.