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With comprehensive immigration reform about to get a Senate vote for the first time since 2007, President Obama pre-empted Republican arguments against reform with a full-throated defense of the bill at the White House Tuesday.

After pointing out that are fewer illegal border crossings now than in decades, the president said that the system is still broken. “To truly deal with this, Congress needs to act,” he said. “And that moment is now.”

Obama outlined the three major components of the proposed law: securing the border, creating a path to earned citizenship and fixing the existing legal immigration system.

“Now, this bill ins’t perfect. It’s a compromise,” he said. “Going forward, no one is going to get everything they want. Not Democrats. Not Republicans. Not me.”

Obama stressed the components of the law that are designed to meet Republican concerns. They include an additional $6.5 billion in border security on top of what’s being currently spent along with increased penalties for smugglers and employers who hire undocumented workers.

The bill as is includes immediate legalization that includes a process for immigrants to reach citizenship as the border is secured. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), who played a pivotal role in crafting the bill as part of the so-called “Gang of Eight,” has been reportedly advising his fellow Republicans to not publicly support the bill. He’s hoping to force the implementation of a trigger that will require Congress to state that the border is secure before any citizenship is granted, claiming that this is the only way the bill can pass the House.

Despite Rubio’s advice, Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) came out for reform over the weekend.

Most experts agree that the only way the bill will pass the House is with Democratic votes and weakening the Senate bill would make that less likely to happen.

The 2007 immigration bill died when conservatives crashed Congress’ switchboard with calls. But that doesn’t seem likely this time around, says the Daily Caller‘s Mickey Kaus. While many on the right object to reform, the monied interests want it.

“In fact, despite all the talk of polarization and Citizens United, the big money in the immigration fight almost unanimously favors a bipartisan, legalization-first bill. Kochs included. The GOP donor class is asserting itself, Ross Douthat has noted,” Kaus wrote Tuesday. He added that Rupert Murdoch’s support of the bill will keep Fox News from rallying the base.

With the “scandals” pre-occupying right-wing media, it seems reform has come at a perfect time.

“I want you to think about your own parents, grandparents and great-grandparents and all the men, women and children who came here,” President Obama. “The notion that all those who came through Ellis Island had their papers right — you know, had checked every box and followed procedures as they got on that boat. They were looking for a better life, just like these families. They want to earn their way into the American story.”

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL)


Twitter has restricted access to a tweet posted Monday by Rep. Matt Gaetz, in which the Florida Republican called for what commenters described as extrajudicial killings of protesters.

"Now that we clearly see Antifa as terrorists, can we hunt them down like we do those in the Middle East?" Gaetz tweeted, joining Donald Trump and other Republicans in blaming anti-fascists for the violence across the country at protests over the death of George Floyd.

Floyd, an unarmed black man, died after a white police officer kneeled on his neck for eight minutes, even as Floyd said he could not breathe. Autopsies have found that Floyd died of asphyxia.While Gaetz's tweet is still up, users have to click on it to see its contents. It's covered by a box that reads, "This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public's interest for the Tweet to remain accessible."

Democratic lawmakers called out Gaetz in response to the tweet and urged Twitter to remove it from the social media platform.

"Take the Gaetz tweet down right now @twitter. RIGHT NOW," Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) tweeted Monday night. "The survivors of mass shootings are lighting up my phone. They are scared to death this will inspire someone to start shooting into a crowd tonight. They are right."

After Twitter took action against his tweet, Gaetz said, "Their warning is my badge of honor."

"Antifa is a terrorist organization, encouraging riots that hurt Americans. Our government should hunt them down. Twitter should stop enabling them. I'll keep saying it," Gaetz said in a tweet that he pinned to the top of his profile page.

Donald Trump has demanded that the antifa movement be labeled a domestic terrorist organization.

However, as factcheck.org noted, "There is no such official federal designation for domestic terrorism organizations." Even if such a designation existed, the site said, it would be "difficult or questionable" to categorize antifa in that manner because it is not an organized group with a hierarchy and leadership.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.