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Politico: “Senators look for immigration deal”

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Senator Chuck Schumer and Senator Lindsey GrahamA Politico piece entitled “Senators look for immigration deal” by Carrie Budoff Brown is causing quite the stir today.

We’re always happy when there’s talk of comprehensive immigration reform, because it’s the only real solution to the immigration crisis we face. President Obama just called for action in the State of the Union, and recently met with Senator McCain to talk immigration.

It’s clear this problem is not going to go away until its dealt with in a comprehensive manner. The question is always going to be: are there the right people leaning into it in the right way to create a breakthrough?

Here’s an excerpt from the piece:

Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) have rekindled their alliance on immigration reform, taking some early steps to test the political will for addressing the contentious issue this year.

Their call list hasn’t focused so much on House and Senate members who’ve been reliable pro-immigration votes in the past. Instead, they’re looking to a strange-bedfellows mix of conservative and liberal constituencies that can provide a “safety net” of support, as Graham put it, once the issue heats up.

“It’s in the infant stage,” Graham told POLITICO. “I don’t know what the political appetite is to do something.”

For all the groups getting a call from the pair, it is the presence of Graham himself who elevates the odds — however bleak — that the Senate could move on a comprehensive, bipartisan overhaul bill. Graham abruptly departed the talks last spring and took with him any hope of getting a bill in the past Congress.

Now, conservative evangelicals, the AFL-CIO, the Service Employees International Union, business organizations and immigrant advocacy groups say they have gotten word from Schumer’s office that a renewed effort is under way. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce confirmed that it is back in the mix, after a hasty exit last year when Schumer proposed a legislative framework with a temporary worker program that favored labor unions.

And Schumer and his staff have quietly begun reaching out to some unlikely players in the Senate, including Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who has professed a newfound freedom since winning reelection last year without the Republican Party’s help.

The question is whether Republicans in the Senate or going to come to the table and stand up to the nativists in their Party (providing a real solution for the majority of Americans who want this thing fixed while simultaneously saving the GOP from itself with Latino voters going into 2012). Also, whether Democrats and the President are going to follow Sen. Reid’s penchant for leaning into this issue, which he’s already put into his top ten legislation for the new Congress.