The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

May 6, 2013

Could immigration bill set off another backlash?

— WASHINGTON (AP) — As a Senate committee prepares to begin voting this week on far-reaching immigration legislation, advocates are watching warily to see whether relatively tame opposition balloons into the kind of fierce resistance that killed Congress' last attempt to overhaul the system.

Last time around, in 2007, angry calls overwhelmed the Senate switchboard and lawmakers endured raging town hall meetings and threats from incensed constituents. The legislation ultimately collapsed on the Senate floor.

"I've been through this battle, and it's ugly," said former Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., who supported the bill. "My phones were jammed for three weeks and I got three death threats, one of which I turned over to the FBI. So it's rough business."

Supporters of the immigration bill brought forward last month by a group of four Republican and four Democratic senators have been cautiously optimistic about their prospects because of factors including public support for giving citizenship to immigrants, a large and diverse coalition in support of the bill, and a growing sentiment among Republican leaders that immigration must be dealt with if they are to regain the backing of Hispanic voters.

Backers have been working hard to build alliances and strategies aimed at avoiding the mistakes of 2007, when critics largely defined the bill and some supporters ended up turning against it.

Opponents acknowledge that supporters started out better organized and mobilized than last time around, and they also anticipate that outside groups pushing the legislation — including efforts headed by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg — will outspend them. Supporters include large and influential groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, AFL-CIO and the Catholic Church, while opponents include lesser-known think tanks or advocacy organizations such as NumbersUSA, the Federation for American Immigration Reform and the Center for Immigration Studies. Both sides have already begun running ads.

Text Only
Local News
Photos


Poll

Which foreign crisis is the biggest threat to the security of the United States?

Russia-Ukraine
Israel-Palestine
Iraq
None of the above
     View Results
Facebook
AP Video
Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee