Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Code words change in Congressional immigration debate

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The U.S. Senate continues its debate on immigration reform, after getting 82 votes Tuesday to move the bill forward. But the language of the debate has changed.

Immigration foes used to label the path to citizenship for those who entered this country illegally as "amnesty." Now, they talk about there being no path forward until the border is secure.

Congressman Xavier Becerra, one of the seven members negotiating a House bill, says at least opponents are focused on something that is real. The L.A. Democrat says he has no problem discussing border security, but "you can be excessive when it comes to enforcement to the degree that you're no longer getting any return for that extra dollar spent."

Becerra says there's a difference between being tough on enforcement, and being unreasonable: "I'm not interested in being mean just for the sake of being political."

Texas GOP Senator John Cornyn has proposed an amendment requiring that 90 percent of illegal border crossings be stopped before those on the path to citizenship get green cards. Becerra says holding those individuals responsible for the federal government's job of securing the border makes no sense.

The House Gang of Seven is expected to present its bill before the 4th of July break.


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