Over the weekend it was announced that the Bush administration and a bipartisan group of senators and congressmen had reached agreement on the details of a comprehensive immigration reform bill. Proponents said they wanted a Senate vote by Tuesday.
We take no sides on the substantive issues in the immigration debate. Nevertheless, a comprehensive bill would represent the largest regulatory change in immigration and labor in a generation, so it’s definitely worthy of serious analysis.
We are unable to perform such an analysis because the bill does not appear to be publicly available. It’s not online at THOMAS, the website where legislation is routinely posted; not in the Congressional Record, which memorializes all Senate and House debate; not on the websites of approximately 20 senators who support it; and not on the websites of Senate majority leader Harry Reid, minority leader Mitch McConnell, or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, among others, who have telegraphed opposition to some significant aspect of the draft bill. (McConnell also has objected to the unusually rapid pace of the process.)
We intend to keep looking for the text, but we may come to regret that. Scattered blog postings suggest that the draft bill is over 400 pages long.