Immigration reform has been the perennial Ping-Pong in Congressional politics. Democrats are constantly on the march for comprehensive immigration laws, while Republican fear the word comprehensive, which they believe is akin to amnesty.
But recent news makes it appear as if both parties have seen Ebenezer Scrooge’s Ghost of Christmas Past.
House Republicans have held fast its notion that it will only approve an immigration reform, if and only if, the borders are secured first, have come to terms on to the reality of diminishing membership, due to attrition and its inability to garner Hispanic or other immigrant voters. Scrooge’s fear has found its way to Republican hearts.
In June the Senate passed a Comprehensive Immigration reform, but Republicans in the House have refused to even discuss the bill, notwithstanding the fact that the House would probably approve it, if it were allowed a vote on the floor. The main obstruction is antagonism from the GOP’s rank-and-file to a pathway to citizenship, even if the path would take over 13 or more years, because many conservatives consider it an amnesty.
But it’s all not as gloomy as it appears.
House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) recently announced a the hiring of Rebecca Tallent, the director of immigration policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center, an analyst who has worked for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and former congressman Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.), both supporters of legislation establishing paths to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
Former governor of Mississippi and co-chair of the BPC's immigration task force, Haley Barbour, a Republican said Boehner's choice to hire Tallent "is affirmation of his strong desire to move legislation in 2014."
The Democrat’s however, have steadfastly said that they will only approve a comprehensive immigration reform, which includes a path to citizenship for the eleven million undocumented immigrants.
And just few weeks ago, Barack Obama changed his view by saying that he would consent a piecemeal method to overhauling the immigration system, a move apparently aimed at stimulating a failing process that reflects the realities of today’s Congress.
Mr. Obama has always preferred the sweeping immigration bill that passed the Senate in June, but the House has repeatedly stated that they would never accept such sweeping reform, but would prefer a piecemeal approach..
President Obama has said, “If they want to chop that thing up into five pieces, as long as all five pieces get done, I don’t care what it looks like,” Mr. Obama said. “What we don’t want to do is simply carve out one piece of it…but leave behind some of the tougher stuff that still needs to get done.”
But let’s face it, a piecemeal approach to legislation may make it easier for Republicans to swallow, but whose kidding here, whether now or in the future, any final legislation will have to provide a pathway to citizenship or be rejected by the Senate and Obama.