Washington Beat: Border Security May Be Sticking Point In Immigration Talks
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As the debate over immigration reform gains more momentum, Senator Charles Schumer is warning progress could stop if Republicans and Democrats cannot agree on how to define border security.
Earlier this week, Schumer joined a bipartisan group of senators to announce a blueprint for immigration reform.
Speaking to reporters Thursday, New York's senior senator said he is hopeful that blueprint will turn into reality. But he says that depends on whether Republicans and Democrats can overcome some critical obstacles including how to define border security, a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants, and reaching an agreement with business and labor how to devise a guest worker program.
The path to citizenship has been getting a lot of attention, mainly because key Republican senators have agreed to do it, provided the borders are secure enough.
A panel of border state governors will help decide whether the borders are secure but Schumer said the final decision will lie with the Department of Homeland Security.
"What we've proposed is that the DHS secretary, whomever it is, will have final say on whatever metrics we propose are met," said Schumer. "Now we think those metrics will be quite objective as Dick mentioned. They will be objective so there is not that much leeway. But what we envision is that because they be objective, the committee, the advisory committee and DHS will in all likelihood agree.
The biggest hurdle, perhaps, in getting immigration reform passed will be the Republican-controlled House.
Schumer says he is working with House members, who are also working on a bill, and he believes that if a large number of Republican senators support immigration reform, it will have a much better chance of passing the House.