On Wednesday night Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) told a town hall of Yuma citizens that the Republican Party will filibuster immigration reform if it were proposed. Many Senate Republicans have remained skeptical of the immigration bill that Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) are working on. However, Kyl’s remarks signal the first time a high-ranking GOP member has threatened to block reform entirely. The Yuma Sun reports:
One man in the audience asked Kyl about the GOP’s strategy to curtail the efforts of the Democrat controlled congress and executive branch.
“First of all our strategy on health care included taking as long as we possibly could so the American people could clearly understand (it).. and it took a year for it to get done,” Kyl said, adding they will do their best to slow up any other bills, like immigration reform, in the same manner.
“My guess is (immigration reform) won’t have the votes to pass, but political promises have been made to key constituency of the party that is in power. Republicans will use the opportunity to filibuster…”
Ironically, in 2007, Kyl sponsored an immigration reform bill that included many of the same basic principles that Schumer and Graham have adopted as part of the framework for their own bill. Kyl has argued that this time around is different because the “consensus” behind the bill he co-sponsored “has all but evaporated.” Given the fact that Schumer and Graham have simply provided a broad blueprint of what is still only an idea for an unwritten bill, it seems odd that Kyl is so quick to come out against it — especially considering the fact that he took a much different approach to immigration reform in 2007:
“The situation in Arizona is horrible today,” he said in an interview.
Mr. Kyl said he also realized that his approach needed to change, now that Republicans were a minority in the Senate. With or without him, Mr. Kennedy and others in the new Democratic majority were poised to draw up immigration legislation that Mr. Kyl knew he would dislike.
“I had a choice,” Mr. Kyl said. “Do I sit on the sidelines and say, ‘That’s a bad bill?’ Or do I get in the fight and try to shape it as best I could to meet the objectives that I think are more appropriate?”
“I would have rather ended my political career with people saying, ‘Throughout his political career, he was recognized as one of the top reasonable spokesmen for conservativism in this country,’ ” Mr. Kyl said. “I would hope those who really know me and understand what we were able to achieve in this negotiation process, if this legislation passes, will at the end of the day continue to believe that. But I’m not sure.”
Last week, Chairman Michael Steele met with immigration advocates and, according to several groups that attended the meeting, pledged to enlist another Republican senator’s support for comprehensive immigration reform. However, the RNC promptly retreated, saying Steele “made no such commitment.”In terms of immigration and border security, things in Arizona and around the country haven’t gotten any better throughout the past three years, and Kyl and his party’s obstruction will only make matters worse.