Thursday, September 07, 2006

Frist says reform "next to impossible"

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and Assistant Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke to the press on Wednesday about the Senate agenda for the remainder of the Congressional session (To watch the briefing yourself on C-SPAN with RealPlayer, click here and then click on the hearing at the top of the page). As expected it was a highly partisan briefing about the fight against terrorism. During the question and answer session, however, Frist answered questions about the possibility of comprehensive reform being passed. He discussed the issue in terms of national security and the need to secure the nation's borders.

Frist also told reporters this week: "I think it would be next to impossible to pass a comprehensive bill that includes dealing with the diversity of 12 million people here in the next three weeks." He did say that he anticipated Congress passing appropriation bills that will include spending to bolster border security.

Reuters News Service reported that Frist's comments drew an angry response from Sen. Edward Kennedy (Democrat, Massachusetts):" How can Republicans say they are for making America safer when they can't even pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill to protect our borders? They are so divided over immigration that it will take leadership from the president to break the impasse.''

On Thursday, immigrant rights advocates are rallying in Washington, DC in the hopes of dislodging the political logjam that has held up further work on immigration reform. C-SPAN3 will air the rallies live on-line.

ACTION STEP: Call Senator Frist (202.224.3344) and ask him to exert his leadership to move forward immigration reform that recognizes the human rights of all immigrants and their families. Ask him to refrain from using immigration reform and border security as election tactics and to make a concerted effort to understand the complexity of the issue.