Politico article on White House-Senate immigration agreement quoted only Republicans

››› ››› MATT GERTZ

In his May 18 "Political Playbook", discussing reactions to the May 17 agreement between the White House and a bipartisan group of senators on comprehensive overhaul of U.S. immigration law, Politico chief political writer Mike Allen cited Bush administration sources and the three leading contenders for the Republican presidential nomination but failed to quote a single Democratic source, even though several prominent Democratic leaders had already commented on the deal.

Allen quoted two Bush administration sources in support of the agreement: a document released by the White House Communications Office titled "Fact Sheet: Border Security and Immigration Reform," and Joel Kaplan, White House deputy chief of staff for policy. He also cited statements from the three leading contenders for the Republican presidential nomination, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Sen. John McCain (AZ), and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Allen described Romney as not being "one of those people" whom Kaplan claims will "think [the agreement] is a good product and support it." Allen characterized McCain as "taking ownership" of the deal, and asserted that Giuliani "left his options open, not wanting to use news reports to make a decision on a bill that could run more than 1,000 pages."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), and two leading candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination all issued statements May 17 reacting to the immigration accord, but none was included in Allen's article.

From Pelosi's statement:

"As the Senate begins its work, they must pass a strong bill that honors these principles that we all agree on, and upholds the American immigrant tradition. While the bipartisan Senate agreement starts the process, I have serious concerns about some elements of this proposal -- the bill must be improved in the Senate. We look forward to working with the Senate on passing a strong comprehensive bill."

From Reid's statement:

"I applaud the hard work of the bipartisan group of Senators who have proposed a new approach to comprehensive immigration reform. Their agreement can serve as a starting point for the Senate debate next week. I have serious concerns about some aspects of this proposal, including the structure of the temporary worker program and undue limitations on family immigration. We need to improve the bill as it moves through the legislative process.

"Comprehensive immigration reform needs to be tough, fair and practical. We need to enhance border security, toughen workplace enforcement, bring 12 million undocumented immigrants out of the shadows and reunite families. We must also have a workable program for new workers to come and help meet the needs of our economy and improve the fabric of our society."

From Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (NY) statement:

"This afternoon, a bipartisan group of Senators, who have been working closely in conjunction with the Administration, announced that they had reached an agreement on a comprehensive approach for reforming our broken immigration system.

As I have long maintained, comprehensive immigration reform must have as essential ingredients a strengthening of our borders, greater cross-cooperation with our neighbors, strict but fair enforcement of our laws, federal assistance to our state and local governments, strict penalties for those who exploit undocumented workers, and a path to earned legal status for those who are here, working hard, paying taxes, respecting the law, and willing to meet a high bar. In particular, we must also ensure that any bill protects the sanctity of families and does not lead to the creation of a new underclass in our country.

I will scrutinize carefully the proposed compromise to see if it honors our nation's principles and proud immigrant heritage while also respecting the rule of law."

From Sen. Barack Obama's (IL) statement:

"Over the past two years, I have worked hard for a comprehensive immigration bill that would provide strong border security, create a new employment verification system, rationalize our immigration quotas, and bring the 12 million undocumented immigrants out of hiding and put them on an earned path to citizenship. We need this reform now."

"I applaud the Senate leadership, as well as the bipartisan group of Senators who negotiated this deal, for moving the legislative process forward. Over the past few months, much hard work has been done behind closed doors to reach agreement on how to fix our immigration system while staying true to our values. But I believe more work needs to be done."

"Without modifications, the proposed bill could devalue the importance of family reunification, replace the current group of undocumented immigrants with a new undocumented population consisting of guestworkers who will overstay their visas, and potentially drive down wages of American workers. We may need a new worker visa to bring in people at all levels of our economy, but these workers should not be forced out of our country or into hiding after two or three years if they prove themselves worthy of an opportunity to stay and join the American family. These and other problems with the proposed deal should be substantially modified."

"We need to fix our immigration system, but we should not replace one dysfunctional, broken system with another equally troubled system. So, I will work to improve any bill that comes to the floor of the Senate, and I hope to be able to support a final bill at the end of the legislative process."

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The Politico
Mike Allen
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