A 2011 report by the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan research center, shows that blacks from Africa, though just 3 percent of the U.S. foreign-born population, are among the fastest-growing immigrant group in the country.
“Because we were not at the table, there was no one there to raise the issue for us or speak for us, and as a consequence we are now trying to fight after the fact,” Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, the chairwoman of the 43-member caucus, said in an interview with McClatchy late last month. “We’re still going to fight. We still have 42 votes” in the House and one in the Senate.
White House officials say they’re comfortable that the legislation’s 13-year path to citizenship is consistent with President Barack Obama’s plan for immigration restructuring.
Rubio, a possible 2016 presidential candidate, blitzed the Sunday talk shows to explain why he’s helping to lead the initiative to overhaul immigration laws.
Saying that “we’re not rewarding anything,” Rubio added, “I just hope that I can convince people that leaving things the way they are now is much worse than approaching it the way we’ve outlined.”
Anti-immigration groups were skeptical. The Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington advocacy organization, released a report Monday that it said documented weak border controls going back to 2004.
NumbersUSA, another anti-immigration group, is running TV ads targeting Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Democratic Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska. Both are up for re-election next year, with Graham preparing for a possible stiff challenge in his red state’s Senate primary in June 2014 and Begich all but certain to face a serious general election fight in a state that’s also heavily Republican.
Sen. Jeff Sessions, an Alabama Republican who’s emerged as a leader of senators who are opposed to many of the immigration proposals, said Monday that the plan would produce a flood of immigrants, some newly arrived under expanded visa provisions and others already here illegally.
“The guest-worker program in this proposal represents only a fraction of the increase in legal foreign workers that will be rapidly introduced,” Sessions said. “Including those illegal immigrants that are legalized, this bill over 10 years will result in at least 30 million new foreign workers – more than the entire population of Texas.”
A pro-immigration-overhaul group, Latino Decisions, released a poll that it said had found that the nation’s 11 million residents living here illegally have deep roots in the United States, with 85 percent of them claiming family members who already are citizens.
In a separate effort to counter opposition to treating immigrants living here illegally more leniently, a group that calls itself Bibles, Badges and Business is mobilizing Republican state attorneys general, influential evangelicals and business owners.
Lesley Clark and Franco Ordonez contributed to this article.