Remember way back in September 2013 when issues such as Syria, ObamaCare and the debt limit were crises that blocked progress to immigration reform? Well, progress is under way on all those issues and the House is considering immigration reform. We should insist Congress passes reform this year.
“We have a chance,” said Jon Wyss at Gebbers Farms in Brewster who may testify this week in Washington DC.
Tea Party leader Eric Cantor wrote a memo telling Republicans he wants immigration reform this year, according to the NYT.
Congressional women in the House formed a group called We Belong Together: Women for Common Sense Immigration. Remember that a group of women helped break the logjam on defunding ObamaCare. A September protest demanding reform led to arrests of leaders of women’s groups that were formerly low profile supporters of immigration reform, such as the National Organization for Women (NOW) and 9to5.org.
“Each one of us here today understands what incredibly high stakes we are talking about—immigration reform is not just a piece of legislation but the ability for us to take care of our families,” said Pramila Jayapal, co-chair of We Belong Together and founder of OneAmerica, Washington state’s largest immigration reform group.
Several organizations coordinated 1300 hundred Jewish rabbis to sign a letter addressed to Congress the day before Yom Kippur.
“During this Jewish High Holy Day period, we assess individually and as a community our strengths and shortcomings and commit ourselves to doing better in the future,” the letter says. “It is in this spirit that we write urging Congress to address the shortcomings of the past and strive to do better in swiftly passing comprehensive immigration reform. Our domestic security is undermined when people live in fear of cooperating with law enforcement, and our economy suffers when we do not safely and legally acknowledge and employ millions of our country’s workers.”
Motivated by public support, House members are working on two contrasting strategies. Proponents are supporting both approaches until the surviving strategy is anointed by Republican House leadership.
One strategy is to pass a comprehensive bill. The Senate passed bi-partisan legislation hoping the House would modify it and work out differences a joint committee. Speaker Boehner refuses to submit it to the House floor. Instead a border security bill was passed by the House Homeland Security Committee and a work visa bill was passed by the House Judiciary Committee.
An alternative comprehensive bill has been proposed by Democrats who modified the Senate Bill. They inserted the House Homeland Security Committee bill to replace the Senate Bill’s border security provisions and strengthened provisions for women’s rights and family unity.
“We must take a comprehensive approach to immigration reform,” said Rep. Suzan Delbene, the Washington Democrat who led the co-sponsors. “We can’t settle for a piecemeal approach. Our system today has so many moving parts that if we just tweak policy in one narrow area, it will create unintended consequences in other areas.”
On Saturday Politico reported Rep. Jeff Denham from California is the first House Republican to endorse the bill, expecting other Republicans to join him.
Boehner and most House Republicans want piecemeal reform. Besides border security, the other major objection to the Senate Bill is the 13-year special path to citizenship for immigrants who arrived illegally. A separate bill offering a compromise is being discussed by Cantor and Rep. John Goodlatte, powerful chair of the Judiciary Committee.
“[The bill] will not result in every single person who came here unlawfully getting … citizenship, but I feel very strongly in my conversations with people it would be a major solution to the problem,” Goodlatte said in a forum with GOP Hispanic leaders.
One Hispanic Democrat wants to discuss it.
“The Republicans have some people that want zero, we got some folks on our side who want 100 percent, but eventually we’ve got to sit down and talk,” said Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Tex).
Reform is possible, especially considering how impossible it seemed to solve problems on Syria, debt ceilings and deficit spending. Solutions surfaced when those issues couldn’t be postponed anymore.
Postponing immigration reform is morally unacceptable.
Let our Congressional representatives know we want immigration reform now.