immigration reform

Politics
11:30 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Kentucky Tea Party Groups Urging House Delegation to Oppose Immigration Reform

The United Kentucky Tea Party is putting members of the state’s congressional delegation on notice to oppose any attempt at overhauling the U.S. immigration system this year.

Late last week House Republicans unveiled a one-page set of standards that would allow those who immigrated to the U.S. illegally to obtain citizenship.

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Politics
8:30 am
Mon July 29, 2013

Democrat John Yarmuth Condemns GOP Congressman Calling Young Immigrants Drug Smugglers

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky.,
Credit U.S. Congress

Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth is condemning comments by Republican Steve King, who said the majority of undocumented immigrants's children are drug runners.

But Kentucky's Third District representative says those remarks don't reflect the views of most GOP lawmakers and shouldn't impede bipartisan efforts to overhaul the U.S. immigration system.

Almost two weeks ago King told Newsmax that for every immigrant child who is a valedictorian there are 100 hauling illegal drugs across the U.S.-Mexicon border.

The Iowa congressman hasn't backpedaled either, adding that many who are smuggling narcotics fit the qualifications under DREAM Act as defined in the Senate immigration reform bill.

"I’d love to see him resign," says Yarmuth. "If he would take my suggestion I’d say resign. What he said was clearly way out of bounds and in horrible taste, and just reprehensibly ignorant."

Yarmuth is a member of the so-called Gang of 7 working on a comprehensive measure in the House. He says most Republican don't take King seriously, and reject his views.

House Speaker John Boehner did rebuke King's comments, calling them "wrong" and "hateful." And other conservatives in the GOP-controlled House such as Congressman Raul Labrador of Idaho said they were "irresponsible and reprehensible."

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Politics
12:14 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Study: Immigration Reform Would Boost Kentucky Revenues By $23 Million

A study by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy estimates Kentucky stands to gain $23.2 million in increased revenue should Congress pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill.

The 50-state analysis assumes that a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country will be included in any legislative package.

That would add around 80,000 new Kentuckians who would fully participate in the state and local tax systems.

According to the study, those immigrants who are living in the U.S. illegally are already paying $10.6 billion a year in state and local taxes nationwide, which is $58.8 million in Kentucky.

Supporters of immigration reform argue the added revenue demonstrates creating legal channels for the undocumented helps immigrant and native households, especially in poorer states.

"Some people would be surprised by how much undocumented immigrants already pay in taxes, including sales, property and income. But immigration reform would increase those contributions especially with income tax by creating a legal path for full compliance," says Anna Baumann, a research associate with the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, a non-partisan group that studies economic issues in the state.

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Politics
8:00 am
Mon July 1, 2013

House Immigration Bill Coming Early Next Week, Congressman John Yarmuth Says

Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth
Credit U.S. Congress

Kentucky  Congressman John Yarmuth says a comprehensive immigration reform bill will be introduced in the House early next week.

The Democratic-controlled Senate version of the bill passed by a comfortable bipartisan margin last Thursday after months of debate.

But Speaker John Boehner has made it clear the Senate version means nothing to the Republican-controlled House, where many lawmakers have described the pathway to citizenship provisions for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants as nothing more than amnesty.

The speaker has has also made it clear he will not bring any measure to the House floor unless it receives support from the majority of the GOP caucus.

Yarmuth, a Democrat, is a member of the a bipartisan work group crafting the bill. He says the group has finished a draft that Democratic and GOP lawmakers in the so-called ‘Gang of 7’ are reviewing.

"We still have the strong support and encouragement of Speaker Boehner as well as Leader (Nancy) Pelosi, so I think we’re all committed to perusing this process. And we think that ultimately the vehicle that we come up with will be the vehicle that ends up passing the House," he says.

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Politics
12:25 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

Mitch McConnell Says Immigration Reform Fails to Properly Secure U.S. Border

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
Credit U.S. Senate

UPDATE: The Senate passed the 'Gang of 8' bill by a 68-32 margin with 14 Republicans joining Democrats to approve the legislation.

Earlier: Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is voting against the comprehensive immigration reform bill due to a lack of border security provisions.

The Senate is expected to vote on the final version of the so-called ‘Gang of 8’ measure on Thursday, and observers predict it will receive bipartisan support.

Earlier this week, lawmakers amended the bill to include a number of security provisions such as doubling the number of federal agents, authorize aerial drones to track illegal crossings and require a 700-mile fence to be constructed along the U.S.-Mexico line.

The changes were co-sponsored by Republican John Hoeven of North Dakota, and received a bipartisan 69-29 vote in the Senate.

But speaking on the Senate floor Thursday morning, McConnell says the legislation still doesn't meet a proper threshold of needed security and that it repeats the problems with previous bills.

"In other words, in the absence of a very firm, results-based border security trigger, there’s just no way I can look at my constituents, look them in the eye and tell them that today’s assurances won’t become tomorrow’s disappointments. And since the bill before us doesn’t include such a trigger, I won’t be able to support it,” he says.

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Politics
7:03 pm
Mon June 17, 2013

Senator Rand Paul Introduces 'Secure the Vote' Amendment to Immigration Bill

U.S. Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky.,
Credit U.S. Senate

Republican Rand Paul is introducing an amendment to the Senate immigration reform bill that would bar undocumented immigrants from voting in federal elections until they obtain U.S. citizenship.

The proposed is being put out on the same day the Supreme Court struck down an Arizona law that required residents to prove their citizenship before voting.

Paul's "Secure the Vote" amendment is aimed a tackling voter fraud and ensures those on work visas or given status under the Senate bill are not allowed to vote in federal elections until they become citizens.

The amendment would also provide states with new procedures to check that those individuals are not illegally registered to vote.

"Not only would this amendment prevent voter fraud, it would also clear up the problem created by today’s Supreme Court decision," Paul said in a statement. "My amendment requires states to check citizenship before registering people to vote in federal elections."

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Politics
7:00 am
Thu June 13, 2013

Poll: Kentuckians Favor Senate Immigration Bill 3-to-1

A new poll shows a solid majority of Kentucky voters support the comprehensive immigration reform bill currently being debated in the U.S. Senate.

The survey conducted by Harper Polling finds 63 percent of Kentuckians favor the so-called 'Gang of 8' legislation, with just 20 percent opposed. It also shows that 73 percent of likely voters support a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country.

Members of Kentucky's federal delegation have been at the center of the immigration debate thus far, with  Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth working on the House version and Republican Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul both saying the Senate bill will need to be changed.

But observers note the high percentage of those in the state who support the principles of the 'Gang of 8' bill illustrates the outcome is brighter than previous attempts to reform the system.

"When you look at a number like that when it's that high it makes you think there's a chance something can actually get passed. And when Kentucky members of Congress and our two senators see this kind of approval back in their home state and back in their home districts it’s going to increase the likelihood of them wanting to vote for it," says former Republican Secretary of State Trey Grayson, who is director of the Harvard University’s Institute of Politics.

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Politics
8:25 am
Thu June 6, 2013

Congressman John Yarmuth: Immigration Talks Will 'Move Forward' Despite GOP Members Exit

John Yarmuth
Credit U.S. Congress

Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth downplayed the exit of Republican Raul Labrador from a bipartisan group of lawmakers working on immigration reform.

The House "Gang of 8" was made up of four Republicans and four Democrats, including Yarmuth.

Lawmakers had been meeting in secret negotiations for months, but Labrador's departure came down to whether undocumented immigrants should be required to pay for their own health care on their pathway towards citizenship.

From Politico:

The problem, Labrador said, was an impasse over how the pending legislation would address the issue of health care for undocumented immigrants. That issue had recently emerged as a major sticking point between Democrats and Republicans, and the negotiations had teetered on the edge of collapse at least three times in the last several weeks before drawing closer to an agreement again.

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Politics
2:00 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Political Ads Supporting and Against Immigration Reform Hit Kentucky

Credit Shutterstock

Dueling political advertisements regarding the Senate bill to reform the U.S. immigration system are airing across Kentucky this week.

The Democratic-controlled Senate will begin debating legislation that offers a pathway to citizenship for an estimated 11 million immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally. Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the measure, which also creates new work Visa programs and seeks to tighten border security.

Louisville pastor Russell Moore is featured in the radio spot running across the state, and he is joining a bipartisan group of evangelical ministers who are calling on lawmakers to pass those comprehensive reforms.

Listen:

Moore is part of the Evangelical Immigration Table, which is launching a radio ad campaign in states such as Ohio, North Carolina and Kentucky to reach a wide audience of evangelicals. It is part of the larger “Pray for Reform” movement made up of conservative and liberal religious groups.

Moore, who is a dean at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, is considered a rising voice in the Southern Baptist world. He says the broad coalition includes Sojourners, and is representative of how people of faith are being moved by the immigration debate.

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Politics
11:55 am
Mon April 22, 2013

In Wake of Boston Bombings, Senator Rand Paul Wants to Delay Immigration Reform

Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky.,
Credit U.S. Senate

In a letter to the Senate majority leader, Republican Rand Paul says national security questions surrounding the Boston bombings need to be addressed before Congress deals with comprehensive immigration reform. 

The terror attacks at the Boston Marathon last week were allegedly perpetrated by the Tsarnaev brothers, who are ethnic Chechens and immigrated to the U.S. a decade ago.

For some that is reason to be cautious on who the country is allowing in as lawmakers deliberate overhauling the immigration system. Others argue conservatives are only seizing on their ethnicity of the accused bombers to stoke nativist fears and derail reforms.

Paul is urging Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid to incorporate various national security concerns first and is openly asking if systemic failures allowed the two men to enter the U.S. without further background checks.

From Paul's office:

The facts emerging in the Boston Marathon bombing have exposed a weakness in our current system. If we don't use this debate as an opportunity to fix flaws in our current system, flaws made even more evident last week, then we will not be doing our jobs.

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