As Igor Volsky at Think Progress noted, we'll see how far this goes with Republicans when you've got Senators like John McCain calling equality for gay and lesbian families in immigration reform as a “red herring” and comparing it to tax payer funding for abortion: Harry Reid Predicts Immigration Reform Will Pass, Says It Must Include Protections For Same-Sex Families:
Senate Majority Leader Harry (D-NV) expressed support for including gay and lesbian families in comprehensive immigration reform, during an appearance on ABC’s This Week on Sunday, insisting that they should have the same protections as everyone else.
The United States is home to at least 28,500 same-sex couples in which one partner is a citizen and the other is not, but federal law does not recognize these relationships and prohibits gay and lesbian couples and their children from seeking visas on the basis of same-sex unions. The Obama administration’s framework would allow families to apply for visas on the basis of their permanent unions, while the bipartisan senate principles do not. Reid characterized the GOP resistance to including the equality amendment as an excuse to avoid supporting comprehensive reform: Read on...
Regardless of their rhetoric and Harry Reid's optimism, I won't be surprised if Republicans find an excuse to block the bill, but we shall see.
Full transcript below the fold.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Hello again. President Obama says that our headliner has the toughest job in Washington. Top Republicans complain that he makes it harder than it needs to be, and over the next year, no single senator will have more influence over the president's ambitious agenda than Democratic Leader Harry Reid.
When we met in the Capitol on Friday for this exclusive interview, he was feisty and confident, especially on this week's top issue, immigration reform.
REID: It has to get done. We have to work hard to get it done. It's really easy to write principles. To write legislation is much harder. And once we write the legislation, then you have to get it passed. But I think things are looking really good.
They're looking good for a number of reasons. One, it's the right thing to do. And, number two, the Republicans can no longer stop this. They've tried it; it hasn't worked. Look what they tried to do to me a couple years ago. Look what they tried to do with the president just this last time, and it just didn't work.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But it still does seem there's going to be a big sticking point. The biggest one I can see is this tie between border security and the path to citizenship for the illegal immigrants. Senator Rubio, part of the bipartisan group of senators, has said unless you have real enforcement there, real triggers, he's not going to support the bill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUBIO: That trigger is critically important. Otherwise, it will never happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: You are absolutely right. But every time I've talked about this, I say there are a few things we need. Number one is border security, southern and northern border security. We have to do that. We have to have a pathway to legalization. We have to make sure that the employer sanctions work. It hasn't worked in the past, and a few other things. But, sure, we have to have security, but it's not going to -- we spent -- we have spent billions and billions of dollars in security, and that's why the border is much more secure now.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But what does that mean exactly? Senator Rubio says that there has to be operational control of the borders. Can you meet that standard?
REID: I don't know what that means, and I don't think he does, either. The fact is, we have some metrics we're talking about, some numbers, and we can do that. But this legislation is going to pass. If people are looking for excuses not to vote for it...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Pass the Senate, pass the House?
REID: Well, it's certainly going to pass the Senate. And it would be a bad day for our country and a bad day for the Republican Party if they continue standing in the way of this. So the answer is yes.
STEPHANOPOULOS: One of the other big issues, the president said he wants gay and lesbians to be able to have a family preference. Senator McCain has said we shouldn't gum up the legislation with what he calls "social issues."
REID: If we have gay folks in this country who have children or they come from some other place, they should be protected just like any other child.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That's the position the Republicans are saying that's too heavy to lift.
REID: If they're looking for an excuse not to support this legislation, this is another one, but the American people are past excuses. They want this legislation passed.
STEPHANOPOULOS: There's a suspicion in the Republican Party that the president and Democrats are looking for an issue here, that they'd rather have the political issue than a policy achievement so they're going to lay out these principles and then not compromise at all.
REID: George, let's look at this with our brains, but also I think we need to look at it with our hearts. I mean, I have seen how things have changed in Nevada. When I was a boy there, we had very few Hispanics. Now more than 40 percent of the children in a school district in Clark County, Las Vegas, Nevada, of 330,000, over 40 percent of them are Hispanic kids. I've seen the DREAMers come to me and explain to me, "We're Americans. We know no other country." My heart says we have to do this.