Is a Border Surge the Only Way to Pass Immigration Reform and Ensure Legalization?
During the second full week of debate on S. 744, momentum towards passage increased with a positive CBO score, the defeat of several poison-pill amendments, and the announcement of a Republican border amendment that is thought to bring ten to fifteen Republicans to “yes” on final passage. A series of critical cloture votes is likely to be filed over the next few days, paving the way for a final vote next Friday. Despite this news, the mood is not jubilant, as good policy seems to be losing to pragmatic politics.
Immigrants and Their Children Fill Gaps Left by Aging American Workforce
Over the next two decades, as the baby boom generation continues entering retirement, we will experience the largest exodus from the workforce by any generational cohort in American history. This wave of retirees will create a labor force deficit among the millions of jobs baby boomers depart from on top of new job growth industries create. Amid this great demographic shift, immigrants and their children are poised to play a critical role in filling workforce gaps left by massive baby boom generation retirements over the next twenty years, as a new forward-looking report from the Center for American Progress describes.
CBO Gives High Marks to Senate Immigration Bill
Yesterday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its much-anticipated “scoring,” or cost estimate, of the Senate immigration bill. Overall, the numbers are good. Very good. The CBO projects 20 years ahead and predicts fiscal savings in the amount of roughly $1 trillion. In addition, the CBO explained in a separate report that the bill would have a host of economic benefits that are not captured in a strictly fiscal analysis, such as GDP growth, increased productivity, and long-term wage increases.
How the Senate Votes On Amendments
The Senate voted on four amendments to the immigration reform bill today, starting the ball rolling on what is likely to be a series of amendment votes over the next few days. The Senate rejected two votes requiring more enforcement at the border as a condition of implementing or completing a legalization program.  In each case, in order to be adopted, a sixty vote threshold was required, rather than a simple majority, which has become the norm in the Senate. Needless to say, the variety of votes and rules can be confusing, leading to the need for some background on the amendment process.
Happy Birthday DACA!
A year ago, President Obama announced the DACA program from the steps of the White House Rose Garden. The announcement marked a victory for thousands of undocumented immigrant youth whose courage and activism inspired the Administration to take action.  Since that day, over half a million young immigrants have come forward under DACA to seek relief from deportation and to secure work authorization.