WASHINGTON - Capitol Hill was fixated last week on the sequestration
that went into effect on Friday, but behind the scenes, the U.S.
Senate’s so-called Gang of Eight pressed forward with its work on
bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform legislation.
The group of four Republican and four Democratic senators met three
times last week, most recently on Thursday, U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake,
R-Ariz., told The Arizona Republic.
“We’re working through the items one by one,” Flake said after
Thursday’s meeting during an interview on the second floor of the
Senate. “Sometimes we have to come back to them, but we’re progressing,
and everyone is sticking together.”
Earlier in the week, U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., another member of the group, also reported general progress.
Some of the topics under discussion include border security, the future flow of immigrant labor and employer sanctions, he said.
“There are a lot issues involved, obviously, with immigration reform,” McCain said.
Flake said he didn’t think the unrelated bickering over the sequester
and other fiscal matters will hurt the chances of the immigration
legislation. The immigration bill is on track to be ready by the end of
March, he said.
“I hope that this immigration thing can lead us to bipartisan agreements in other areas,” Flake said.
The other senators in the Gang of Eight are Democrats Charles Schumer
of New York, Dick Durbin of Illinois, Robert Menendez of New Jersey and
Michael Bennet of Colorado; and Republicans Lindsey Graham of South
Carolina and Marco Rubio of Florida.
In other developments:
McCain, Graham and Flake went to the U.S. House on Thursday to brief U.S. House members working on immigration reform.
That meeting also went well, Flake said.
“We came away more encouraged, I think, than any of us expected,” he told The Republic.
Last month, the four GOP members of Arizona’s U.S. House delegation —
Reps. Trent Franks, Paul Gosar, Matt Salmon and David Schweikert — sent
a letter to U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, in which they
stressed that they could contemplate broader immigration reform only
after the borders are secured. The Senate plan is to link border
security with a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants
already in the United States.
“I think it was broad and general enough that it’s not detrimental” to Senate efforts, Flake said of the Feb.15 letter.
McCain and Graham met with President Barack Obama on Tuesday at the
White House to discuss, among other issues, the bipartisan
“We were pleased to hear the President state his firm commitment that
he will do whatever is necessary to accomplish this important goal,”
McCain and Graham said in a joint statement.
For More Information Contact us at:
- Eli Kantor
- Beverly Hills, California, United States
- Eli Kantor is a labor, employment and immigration law attorney. He has been practicing labor, employment and immigration law for more than 36 years. He has been featured in articles about labor, employment and immigration law in the L.A. Times, Business Week.com and Daily Variety. He is a regular columnist for the Daily Journal. Telephone (310)274-8216; firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com and and beverlyhillsemploymentlaw.com