New Yorker Chuck Schumer, as vice-chairperson of the Senate Democratic Caucus, is the third ranking member of his party in the chamber. He also is a member of the Gang of Eight, which crafted the comprehensive immigration bill which recently passed the Senate. Barack Obama (though clearly supportive) largely stayed out of the fight, fearing that his advocacy would kill the chance of any Republican support. In some circles, thus, the legislation was considered the McCain-Schumer-Rubio bill.
But let's hear it for Schumer! That is, if that dog of a congressman, Idaho's Representative Raul Labrador, had Schumer pegged when he claimed
Chuck Schumer said yesterday, for example, that any bill without a pathway to citizenship is dead in the Senate. So if Chuck Schumer’s not going to accept anything unless he gets 100 percent of what he wants, then he’s the one who’s killing immigration reform, he’s the one who’s seeing that 80 percent is not enough.
Sometimes, 80% is less than zero- not mathematically, but in effect. As passed in the Senate, this bad piece of legislation is a compromise between Democrats who want illegal immigrants get the right to vote, access to federal benefits, and citizenship and Republicans who want them to get none of that.
Take away the right to gain citizenship, and the bill (were it to pass the House and become law) would bring illegal immigrants "out of the shadows" and make them second-class citizens, accelerating our transition to a servant society. If Labrador is honest and accurate- a huge "if"- Schumer wants a path to citizenship or nothing at all. At the very least, Labrador's statement suggests that the New York Senator has his eyes on the prize- citizenship.
But Schumer, if in fact he is intent on a path to citizenship, may be in the minority among Democrats. On the House side, Representative Loretta Sanchez of California was asked today by MSNBC's Alex Wagner (video, below) "There is room to debate as far as you're concerned among Democrats on the question of legalization vs. citizenship?" Sanchez ominously replied "There's always room to talk."
This ends badly because Democrats- tongues out panting for some sort of agreement- are hot for an immigration bill, any bill. It ends with no bill at all or with one without a clear path to citizenship, the worst of all outcomes.