For those who have never experienced legislative debates over comprehensive immigration reform, welcome to the circus, and hang on to your seats. Barely a nanosecond after President Obama complimented the bipartisan guidelines for reform announced this week by the Senate’s “gang of eight,” seasoned skeptics began to parse any differences between the White House and Congress. The potential show-stopper involves the Senate proposal to create a Southwest border commission, comprised of local and state officials and community members. It will assess the progress of border security measures as a part of a process toward citizenship for the 12 million undocumented immigrants in country. None of the “gang” has made entirely clear the powers of this commission; Democrats have said it would provide non-binding recommendations, but Republican Marco Rubio has suggested it would essentially have veto power over any efforts to grant amnesty to undocumented workers.
The controversy over the Southwest border commission already has a name: the “trigger” issue.