Hurdles still remain for pending immigration reform

The immigration overhaul has just begun, and there are hurdles that lawmakers still must face to reform a broken U.S. immigration system. As members of the Senate prepare to vote on immigration legislation this week, they’re ready to face the challenges that erupted in 2007 – the last time that an immigration reform bill was brought to the Congress floor.

Although some have been optimistic about the changes ahead, those who oppose the bill voice deep concerns despite the efforts of conservative supporter Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., to sell the legislation to them and other conservative opinion leaders.

“The supporters promoted the bill aggressively before anybody saw the language, and certain Republicans and conservative voices sort of held their fire, but that’s beginning to change,” Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala told The Associated Press.

Conservatives suggested that the bill should be broken up in a way that would give voters a piece-by-piece option. However, even though conservatives are on a different track, they’d still have to deal with the legislation’s cost to taxpayers. According to former Senator Jim DeMint, current president of the Heritage Foundation, the immigration reform plan released by the “Gang of Eight” would cost Americans “trillions of dollars.”

However, backers of the bill have been working hard to build alliances and strategies aimed at avoiding the mistakes of 2007 when critics largely defined the bill and some supporters ended up turning against it. Still, the final plans will have to play out as the reform strategies are brought to the congressional floor.

“There’s been a lot of posturing, a lot of talk,” Dan Holler, communications director for Heritage Action for America, the Heritage Foundation’s activist arm, told AP. “We haven’t really gotten to the heart of the debate yet. We have the right policy, the numbers are going to be there, and the debate is going to shift. And no amount of ads will be able to shift it back.”