Some lawmakers seeking to torpedo the bill will continue to apply pressure with bad faith amendments when the full Senate takes it up in June, Giovagnoli predicts, but she believes the pending introduction of a House proposal will keep reform momentum going.
"It's extremely difficult to fight anything that sounds like it's tough on crime, so I anticipate there will be a lot of attempts to make criminal actions, visa overstays or anything where someone is stepping over the line some kind of additional ground of inadmissibility or bar to future relief," she says. "People will be trying to leverage the tension [between the partisan extremes] in different ways. But the introduction of a bill in the House is additional momentum that will, I think, keep people excited about the process and the possibility that the two legislative bodies are actually doing something."
Rebecca Tallent, former chief of staff for Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and director of immigration policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center, says the momentum is real but the conclusion for immigration reform is far from known thanks to bicameral politics.
"A strong Senate vote will be very helpful, but those saying a strong Senate vote will force the House to take up the Senate bill are wrong," she says. "The worst thing you can do for immigration reform right now is to try to jam the Senate bill down the House Republicans' throat. They have to feel invested in the process, they have to feel that they have had an input and that's not just at the committee level."