cloudy
Tuesday February 9th, 2016 12:58PM

Some immigration reform backers fear they're losing the fight

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Backers of comprehensive immigration legislation are gearing up for a campaign to push the House to act, even as some begin openly voicing fears they're already losing the fight.

Congress' monthlong August recess could be crucial and supporters aim to exert influence in dozens of congressional districts home to Republican House members seen as open to reform.

Business and religious groups and others with ties to the GOP majority are under pressure to win over lawmakers through tailor-made campaigns from within their districts, involving ministers, local executives and other contacts. Immigration activists, labor leaders and others on the left are making plans for large-scale mobilizations such as rallies and marches to exert pressure from without.

"Here's the fact: We're not winning, so we've got to wage a campaign," said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a lead author of the Senate-passed immigration bill. "There are many members of the House that don't want to take up any bill at all, as you know. What our job is, we want to convince them to at least pass legislation, so that we can go to conference and work together."

The scenario supporters hope to avoid is what happened to President Barack Obama's health care bill in the summer of 2009, when it was savaged by irate voters at unruly town hall meetings, taking a beating it never really recovered from.

"August is a month in which either legislative proposals die, or they survive," said Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J. He said those who favor immigration legislation must be heard in August. "And if we do that, we'll be well positioned for the fall in the House. If we don't, then we run a risk."

Immigration legislation, a top priority for Obama, has been in limbo since the Senate last month passed a sweeping bill with provisions aimed at securing the border, requiring employers to verify their workers' legal status, allowing many more workers into the country legally, and offering eventual citizenship to the 11 million immigrants already in the country illegally.

Many members of the House's Republican majority oppose citizenship for people who crossed the border illegally or overstayed their visas, and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has ruled out taking up the Senate bill in the House. Instead, he's declared that the House will move in a piecemeal fashion, beginning with border security.

Although Boehner had hoped for House action on immigration before August, that goal is no longer in sight. He reiterated Thursday that the House must address the issue. When and how remained unclear, although Boehner said he hoped to see the House pass something before Congress next confronts raising the debt ceiling, which is expected sometime this fall.

Authors of the Senate bill summoned dozens of business lobbyists, officials with religious groups and others to the Capitol earlier this week to tell them they needed to work harder and coordinate better to win over House Republicans. The senators distributed a list of 121 House Republicans seen as persuadable, and instructed those present to focus on tailoring individual campaigns for their congressional districts.

"We are going to have numerous business contacts - whether it be a local restaurant that cares about immigration or a high-tech or manufacturing or financial business in their district - contacting them in terms of how important this is to the future of jobs in each district," said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

The coalition that supports immigration overhaul includes agriculture interests, businesses large and small, Catholics and evangelicals, high-profile Republicans, labor groups and others. By most measures, it dwarfs those opposed to reform, including tea party activists and lesser-known groups such as NumbersUSA, as well as some leading Republican voices.

"We're up against a very shrill minority," said Charles Spies, a GOP fundraiser and co-founder of the group Republicans for Immigration Reform.

Yet thus far, supporters have not translated their greater numbers and bigger budgets into a successful campaign to shift opinion among House Republicans.

Some officials with outside groups say that until recently their attention was focused on the Senate, arguing that as they begin to make inroads in congressional districts their efforts will show.

Joe Trauger, vice president of human resources policy at the National Association of Manufacturers, said his group is making plans for everything from plant tours for members of Congress to showing up at their town halls over August, all aimed at "making sure they understand there are folks out there that do support moving forward on immigration reform and want the House to proceed."

That's not keeping some, on the right and left, from criticizing business in particular for failing to spend more money and push harder in the fight.

"The business wing of the GOP has been outhustled by the anti-immigrant wing of the GOP for years," said Frank Sharry, executive director of America's Voice, which supports immigration reform. "This is the moment, and they've really got to throw down."

Yet some House Republicans say there's a limit to how much outside groups can influence their thinking anyway, saying they're more interested in what their constituents have to say.
© Copyright 2016 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
S&P 500 index has its best year since 1997
The stock market closed out a record year with more all-time highs on Tuesday, giving U.S. indexes their biggest annual gains in almost two decades.
6:56PM ( 2 years ago )
Colorado readies for 'Green Wednesday' pot sales
Police were adding extra patrols around pot shops in eight Colorado towns that plan to allow recreational sales to anyone over 21 on Jan. 1.
1:52PM ( 2 years ago )
Kerry seeks framework for Mideast peace talks
A senior State Department official says Secretary of State John Kerry will try this week to get Israel and the Palestinians to agree on a framework for negotiating a final peace agreement, yet cautions against raising expectations for Kerry's latest round of shuttle diplomacy.
1:35PM ( 2 years ago )
U.S. News
Missing Ga. bank director arrested in Brunswick
A bank director accused of losing millions of investors' dollars before vanishing last year was arrested Tuesday during a traffic stop in a city in south Georgia.
7:00PM ( 2 years ago )
Amtrak to suspend some Crescent service in Jan., Feb.
Amtrak service will shut down in parts of the Southeast for several days in January and February for rail maintenance by Norfolk Southern Railway.
9:00AM ( 2 years ago )
Lung cancer scans urged for some smokers, not all
Certain current or former heavy smokers should start getting yearly scans for lung cancer to cut their risk of death from the nation's top cancer killer, government advisers said Monday - even as they stressed that the tests aren't for everyone.
7:26AM ( 2 years ago )
Business News
Sex offender held in Hall County for failing to register
A 47-year-old man was booked into the Hall County Jail Tuesday, being held without bond for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender, his second such arrest.
6:09PM ( 2 years ago )
Pharmacy robberies may involve same suspect
Oakwood Police Tuesday afternoon released details in a pharmacy robbery they're investigating, similar to one that happened in the Hall County Tuesday morning.
5:46PM ( 2 years ago )
Victim critical following apartment fire
A 41-year-old woman was in critical but stable condition Tuesday after being rescued from an apartment fire in Forsyth County late Monday afternoon.
3:16PM ( 2 years ago )
Local/State News
Feeling US snub, Saudis strengthen ties elsewhere
Increasingly vocal in its frustration over U.S. policies in the Mideast, Saudi Arabia is strengthening ties elsewhere, seeking out an alignment that will bolster its position after it was pushed to the sidelines this year.
4:34PM ( 2 years ago )
NSA reportedly intercepts computer deliveries
A German magazine has lifted the lid on the operations of the National Security Agency's hacker unit, revealing how American spies intercepted computer deliveries, exploited hardware vulnerabilities, and even hijacked Microsoft's bug report system to spy on their targets.
12:31PM ( 2 years ago )
Rockets fired from Lebanon into Israel
Rockets from Lebanon struck northern Israel on Sunday, causing no injuries but sparking an Israeli reprisal shelling in a rare flare-up between the two countries.
12:26PM ( 2 years ago )
Politics
President Barack Obama is asking Congress for more than $1.8 billion in emergency funding to help fight the Zika virus
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is asking Congress for more than $1.8 billion in emergency funding to fight the Zika virus and the mosquitoes that spread it here and abroad, but says "there s...
10:40PM ( 14 hours ago )
Search for Missouri couple wanted for crimes across the South, including Ga., ends with one suspect dead and the other wounded
A weeklong search for a Missouri couple wanted in a series of robberies and abductions across the South ended with one suspect dead and the other wounded Friday, after authorities say they chased the pair across the highway and through a rural neighborhood and exchanged gunfire with them in Florida's Panhandle.
By The Associated Press
9:57PM ( 3 days ago )
Cheap oil will be sticking around for a while, buoying consumers, frustrating oil producers
Cheap oil will be sticking around for a while.That reality is wreaking havoc and causing uncertainty for some governments and businesses, while creating financial windfalls for others. Less expensive...
6:18PM ( 6 days ago )
Cruz (R) expected to claim conservative Iowa caucus victory, with Clinton (D) and Sanders (D) deadlocked among liberal vote
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz swept to victory in Iowa's Republican caucuses Monday, overcoming billionaire Donald Trump and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Among Democrats, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were deadlocked in a tight race.
By The Associated Press
10:55PM ( 1 week ago )
America, its politics in flux as voting begins
On the eve of the first contest on the 2016 presidential election calendar, some voters are pushing for bolder, more uncompromising action, with an intensity that has shaken both the Republican and Democratic establishments.
By The Associated Press
9:00PM ( 1 week ago )