USNEWS & WORLD REPORT–THOMAS JEFFERSON STREET BLOG
A Republican-controlled Senate isn’t likely to deliver the immigration reform we need.
An issue that isn’t going away.
By Peter FennSept. 25, 2014 | 3:00 p.m. EDT+ More
This is an LOL moment. Republicans are now arguing, six weeks before the election, that a Republican takeover of the U.S. Senate would result in serious immigration reform. In fact, they have the gall to contend that there is a better chance that Congress will overhaul the immigration system with the Republicans in charge than the Democrats.
Hello? Who could possibly not see through this outrageous claim? Is this supposed to entice Hispanic voters? Is this supposed to give Hispanics confidence that everything the GOP has done to scuttle immigration reform for the past decade will magically – presto chango! – change if Republicans win the Senate majority?
To call this a cynical ploy would be a gross understatement.
The Democratic Senate, led by the bipartisan “gang of eight,” passed a very reasonable reform bill that included many things the Republicans wanted on enforcement: 40,000 border agents, a 700-mile fence and verification of employees’ legal status. It also included a compromise path to citizenship. What did the House do under total GOP control? Not a darn thing. No vote. No debate. No alternative legislation. Nada.
So, sure, we will really get things moving when Republicans have total control of Congress.
Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, may believe, as he says, “It needs to be fixed … the sooner we do it, the better off the country would be.” But, under intense pressure from his caucus, he deep-sixed reform when he had the chance.
Of course, the real question may be what the meaning of “reform” is?
For a large number of Republicans, a comprehensive bill is dead on arrival. For those who cry “amnesty” their definition of reform is to shut down the border and deport as many people as possible. Some Republicans say we should do this piecemeal: Dribble it out, bill by bill. Nothing comprehensive. It is hard to imagine that would solve the problem. It would probably only make it worse and anger the Hispanic community and those who truly want to see a solution.
So it is a mystery, sort of, why Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., says: “I think the likelihood is better if Republicans take the Senate.” As a leader on the issue of immigration reform, Diaz-Balart surely knows the strength of his own party’s vehement opposition. He couldn’t get a discussion or a vote in the GOP-controlled House of Representatives.
Sadly, this claim of the clouds opening and the sun shining on immigration reform with a Republican Senate just doesn’t pass the laugh test.