Tonight, the Senate plans to vote on the compromise immigration reform bill. Despite all the hoopla, it's been dragged kicking and screaming through the process since Day 1 beginning when Senator Kyl was tapped by the Bush administration to lead the charge in hopes of appealing to amnesty-hating Republicans. The Kyl-Kennedy partnership has done little to appease any major constituency, however. Kennedy's sponsorship has done nothing to satisfy unions or open borders groups, and Kyl has only managed to at best, dissappoint, and at worst, infuriate many Republicans.
Here's a little example of the pressure felt by senators: Friday, Senator Cornyn of Texas criticized the bill's provision giving illegals numerous judicial appeals. Senator McCain who has been absent through most of the debate was enraged. Although McCain has been claiming a relatively minor role in the overall debate, he claimed he knew "more than anyone else in the room" and emphasized the point by using the F-word against Cornyn. No doubt some of the stress was brought on by McCain's campaign activities, but it also shows that this bill is anything but a slam dunk. In fact, Harry Reid's attempt to push the bill to a quick vote thinking to get the job done before things heated up any further resulting in threats of a filibuster.
Will the bill pass tonight? Not likely. Here's the evidence:
1) Even McCain, an ardent supporter, has backed off of publicly endorsing the bill due to pressure from Republicans. (Romney has been the most outspoken against the bill and Guiliani supports it.) Of course, McCain will vote for it, but his behavior demonstrates that he feels the pressure that every other politician is feeling. On the Democrat side, Obama is opposing the bill based on his opposition to guestworker provisions, and Hillary, who also opposes the guestworker piece, isn't saying how she'll vote.
2) Although the Senate is considered to be split nearly 50/50 on the bill, a third of the senators are keeping their positions well hidden.
3) Republican party leaders in many states are speaking out. Check out the statement from Arizona State GOP Chairman Randy Pullen on another post on this site.
4) The largest human resources organization in the country, SHRM, opposes the bill.
5) The largest union organization, the AFL-CIO, adamantly opposes the bill.
6) Business groups oppose the bill.
7) Every major conservative group opposes the bill.
8) Open borders and rights groups such as ACORN oppose the bill.
Here are some of the sticking points:
—The Z-visa will grant amnesty to illegals who pay $1000 over some undermined period of time and take an English class. They can continue to stay in the country and work as before.
—Employers will be forced to use the failed government's Basic Pilot legal status verification process.
—Expanded guest worker visas (est. 13 million).
—The border fence (now only 350 miles in the bill).