January 22, 2014
The New York Times, 01/21/2014
The two women might at first seem more like political rivals than a reminder of the way things used to work in Washington.
Esther Olavarria, a Democrat, left Cuba as a child, worked as Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s top immigration lawyer and now holds a post in the White House. Rebecca Tallent, a Republican, left suburban Arizona and became Senator John McCain’s chief of staff, briefly advised Sarah Palin in 2008 and is now a top policy aide to Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio.
But if there is any way to unlock the immigration stalemate in Washington, colleagues say these two might find it.
A decade ago, the two women spent months in marathon back-room deal-making sessions as they repeatedly tried to bring lawmakers together on overhauls that would have given legal status to immigrants, secured the border and opened the country to more legal workers. In the process, they formed a friendship that transcended party affiliation.
December 16, 2013
The Guardian, 12/13/2013
Immigration reform has emerged as the next Republican battleground after a high-profile split between party leaders and the Tea Party over budget compromise led to growing expectation of a similar bipartisan deal to legalise America’s 11 million undocumented migrants.
House speaker John Boehner signalled a major break from right-wing conservatives on Thursday when he accused activist groups of losing “all credibility” by opposing his efforts to reach a deal with Democrats over the $1tn federal budget. Heritage Action, a group behind many Tea Party Republicans, issued a testy response on Friday, claiming Boehner was trying to clear the way for immigration reform next year by severing his links with opponents on the right of the party.
December 13, 2013
Washington Times, 11/12/13
Republican leaders in the House already have said they won’t take up the immigration reform bill that passed the Senate earlier this year. But that didn’t stop Vice President Joseph R. Biden from guaranteeing Wednesday that, eventually, the Senate measure — and its controversial pathway to citizenship provision — will become the law of the land.
“We’re going to pass this Senate bill that we’re talking about here. It’s going to happen,” Mr. Biden said during an online question-and-answer session, where he and Cecilia Munoz, the White House’s director of domestic policy, took questions via Twitter and Skype.
December 6, 2013
International Business Times, 12/5/2013
More than two dozen Democrats on Thursday sent a letter to President Barack Obama, calling on him to help restart the immigration reform debate in Congress by suspending deportation. They also asked the nation’s chief executive to go a step further and expand “deferred action,” a program that would grant these immigrants reprieve.
The lawmakers’ formal request to the president came more than a week after he was heckled at a California event by an immigrant who asked that Obama use his executive power to protect immigrants from the laws under what they describe as a broken system.
November 20, 2013
Several activists have been fasting on the National Mall for more than a week to bring attention to the push for comprehensive immigration reform – and a Democratic lawmaker is about to join their cause.
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) said in an interview Tuesday that she’ll fast for one day to mark solidarity with the activists, who are trying to highlight the effect of U.S. immigration laws on families in their “Fast for Families” initiative. The fast began on Nov. 12 and the fasters have each lost 10 pounds so far, organizers said.
October 30, 2013
The Washington Times, 10/29/2013
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday there is a bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives ready to pass a comprehensive immigration overhaul bill, but she may never get the chance to prove it if GOP Speaker John A. Boehner doesn’t bring a vote in the Republican-lead House.
“With 28 Republicans having publicly expressed support for a path to citizenship, we believe the votes are there on a bipartisan basis to pass a bill,” she wrote on Facebook. “It’s just a question whether Speaker Boehner can muster the will to schedule a vote.”
October 28, 2013
The Huffington Post, 10/25/2013
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) said this week that some Democrats are trying to undermine his and others’ work with Republicans on immigration, just so they can keep the issue for a political edge.
“When someone does reach across the aisle to say, ‘Hey, let’s work on this issue together,’ what do we get? ‘Hey, why are you helping them?'” he said on the House floor Wednesday, explaining what he hears from other Democrats. “I’ve heard it. When I stood with [Reps.] David Valadao [R-Calif.] or Paul Ryan [R-Wis.] to say immigration reform is an objective we can reach in a bipartisan manner, I heard from the Democrats, ‘Stop working with them, we’re trying to defeat them.'”