After a four-day gushing of praise from the mainstream media over the Gang of Eight's immigration proposal, the reality of whether a bill could actually pass is finally starting to sink in. On Sunday, the New York Times published an op-ed from Bloomberg's Albert Hunt - A Rocky Road to Reforming Immigration.
Last Friday, the headline across the top of the Washington Post read:
DEAL ON MIGRANTS FACES BIG OBSTACLE
And Politico also played up a theme pushed by our very own Rosemary Jenks that not all Democrats are on board with offering an amnesty to the nation's 11 million illegal aliens.
Some of this started on Thursday of last week when CNN commentator and Newsweek Washington Bureau Chief Howard Kurtz called out the media for its slanted coverage of the immigration proposals. In his column, he wrote that the "mainstream media are rooting for immigration reform" and cautioned them on their optimism.
They swoon over the kind of bipartisanship that brings together John McCain and Marco Rubio on the one hand and Barack Obama and Chuck Schumer on the other.
They believe the Republican Party needs to moderate its harsh rhetoric about immigrants -- if only to salvage its political future -- and are welcoming the GOP's new realism.
But is that enthusiasm causing media organizations to overestimate the prospects for reform? The reality is, there are plenty of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who have expressed serious concerns with this week's amnesty outlines. Furthermore, Senate Majority Leader Reid and House Speaker John Boehner have said that they plan to use regular order -- subcommittee markups, committee markups, and floor debate -- before allowing a final vote, so we have no idea what a final bill may look like.
The recent, more cautious coverage from the media could be a reaction to comments made on Thursday by Sen. Chuck Schumer. During a press conference with fellow Gang Member Dick Durbin and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Schumer said:
We are not using border security as a block to a path to citizenship.
This is the same Chuck Schumer who helped strip the enforcement "triggers" out of the 1986 amnesty bill. And he was making it clear that the benefits of amnesty will not be delayed by any enforcement triggers this time either.
Seems as though Sen. Marco Rubio, who's been leading the GOP effort for the Gang of Eight, has some decisions to make. After all, he said on the Senate floor on Tuesday:
If it is certified that the enforcement mechanisms [including securing the border] are in place and have happened--that is critical--then and only then do we then move to phase 2 [a pathway to citizenship].
Will Rubio simply ignore Sen. Schumer's statement? Will he demand that Sen. Schumer clarify what he said? Or will he simply pull out of the Gang of Eight almost ensuring that the amnesty proposal collapses?
We've still got a long way to go in this fight with a lot of questions that need to be answered. But if you followed the reporting from early last week, you would have thought a mass amnesty was inevitable this year. At least over the past few days, though, the momentum has slowed done a bit.
CHRIS CHMIELENSKI is the Director of Content & Activism for NumbersUSA
Updated: Mon, Feb 4th 2013 @ 2:59pm EST