House GOP holds fate of immigrants, party
Now that the U.S. Senate has passed a compromise bill on immigration reform, the issue moves to the House, where we hope immigration reform will also pass. But, if it does, it won’t but be the bill passed by the Senate.
House Speaker John Boehner has said he won’t take up the Senate bill in the House and will only move forward with a House bill on immigration reform if it starts out with the support of at least 50 percent of Republicans.
So much for the democratic process.
Republicans in the House need to be careful because the issue is not solely about immigration reform. It is about the future of the Republican Party. As a story in The Washington Post Friday highlighted, some of the top GOP funding groups in the country are worried if no action is taken on immigration,
One GOP donor said many top Republican contributors fear “that we will never again win a national election unless we embrace policies more appealing” to Hispanics,.
The trouble is, many House Republicans are more worried about facing a primary challenge in their own districts if they support immigration reform than they are about the long-term viability of their party or the fate of millions of immigrants.
We’ll be watching to see where 3rd District Rep. Scott Tipton is when the issue reaches the House, especially since he has portrayed himself as a friend of agriculture and Western Slope farmers and ranchers would benefit from the Senate bill.
Tipton has said he supports immigration reform, but verifiable border security must be the first step.
That is apparently the mantra of many House Republicans, but it’s not at all clear what they mean.
The just-passed Senate bill includes a number of measures to significantly strengthen border security, including doubling the number of Border Patrol agents. It also includes stricter employment verification measures.
So, if House Republicans allow the Senate Bill to die and don’t pass anything that has a reasonable chance of winning approval in the Senate, they will be leaving border security as it is, not strengthening it. Hmmm. Wonder how that will play with the folks back home?
At the heart of this issue, of course, is what to do with some 11 million illegal immigrants already living in this country. Many House Republicans and their constituents oppose any measure that would give those immigrants a path to citizenship, as the Senate bill does. But it’s a long path, requiring at least 13 years. And it seems far better than requiring immigrants to hide in the shadows, not paying full taxes or obtaining driver’s licenses and insurance or trusting police officers.
House Republicans have an opportunity to change this. We hope they will and will preserve their party in the process.