Hume theory on bipartisan support for immigration bill: GOP wants workers; Dems want votersMarch 17, 2006 1:26 PM EST ››› JEREMY SCHULMAN
On the March 16 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume, reporter Major Garrett reported that the Senate Judiciary Committee appeared to be near an agreement on legislation that would "rescue President Bush's guest worker program" for immigrants and "give an estimated 12 million illegal aliens a path to U.S. citizenship."
Discussing that plan during the subsequent "All Star Panel" segment of the show, Fox News Washington managing editor Brit Hume asked: "Is it fair to say the Republicans want these people to stay here so they can work, and Democrats want them to stay here so they can vote?"
Weekly Standard executive editor Fred Barnes responded: "Well, no. It's not that simple."
From the March 16 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume, which also featured Tamar Jacoby, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, and Mara Liasson, National Public Radio's national political correspondent:
GARRETT: A previously divided Senate Judiciary Committee came together to rescue President Bush's guest worker program, and according to one expert, that increases the chance of comprehensive immigration reform.
JACOBY: Today was a huge breakthrough. This is only the first round in the debate, but it's huge. The Senate Judiciary Committee has come to an understanding of what immigration reform should look like.
GARRETT: The committee didn't send a bill to the Senate floor, but it rallied around a plan to give an estimated 12 million illegal aliens a path to U.S. citizenship.
LIASSON: First of all, Hispanics -- big, important, growing bloc that both parties are courting. Depending on what part of the country you're in, the politics of immigration are not nearly as cut and dried as some of these talk show hosts would have you believe. In -- inside the Republican Party, it is a very divisive issue and it's one that the base feels very strongly about. But I don't think it's a slam dunk politically.
BARNES: The reason is -- the reason is very simple why people don't like it. Now, I don't agree with the opponents, but they don't like it because it's illegal. These people have broken the law coming into the country, and now, here, we're going to let them stay. Now, I think that's the right thing to do, but I understand --
HUME: I understand that -- look --
BARNES: And I'm not going to give --
HUME: We're -- we all understand that. What I am trying to figure out is what --
BARNES: But that's the key issue, the illegality --
HUME: I understand that, but the question is: Where is the force on the other side coming from? Mara makes the point that a lot of people want to court the Hispanic vote. Is it fair to say the Republicans want these people to stay here so they can work, and Democrats want them to stay here so they can vote?
BARNES: Well, no. It's not that simple.