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  1. Ted Cruz Wants to Shut Down CIR, Not Just the Government. By Roger Algase

    From the same Ted Cruz who brought us the government shutdown and a near blow-up of the world's economy, now comes a new act - shutting down (or blowing up) comprehensive immigration reform.

    The Hill provides details in its October 29 article Ted Cruz looms large over comprehensive immigration reform:

    The Hill writes:

    "Sen. Ted Cruz (R. Texas) has shaped the views of Republican leaders on immigration reform, and his sway with grassroots conservatives will make passing comprehensive legislation significantly more difficult."

    The article continues:

    "Cruz scored a victory in the battle for the hearts and minds of his party over the weekend when Senator Marco Rubio (R. Fla.) backed away from the Senate's overhaul of immigration laws."

    (See my Immigration Daily blogging: "Et Tu, Marco?" October 29).The Hill then states:

    GOP leaders, after President Obama's reelection last year, sounded more open to moving broad legislation on immigration, but their interest in doing so has waned as Cruz's power has grown.

    'There are going to be a lot of Republicans who don't want to be on the other side of Ted Cruz', said Rosemary Jenks, director of government relations at NumbersUSA, a group that advocates for reduced immigration flows."

    The same article also describes Cruz's opposition to a pathway to citizenship for 11 million immigrants who are currently without legal status, as well has his alliance with Iowa Republican Representative Steve King (who has called DREAMERs "drug mules", labelled all of Latin America as a culture of violence and compared immigrants to dogs).

    The Hill's article also reports:

    "Cruz, who has become an influential voice among House Tea Party conservatives, can help cement opposition to merging the broad Senate package with one of the broad Senate package with one of the narrower House bills that could pass there this fall.

    King does not want any immigration reform proposal to pass, fearing that one of the House piecemeal bills could be used as a vehicle to move the 1,200 page Senate bill."

    What gives just one Senator such as Ted Cruz so much power to block immigration reform, against the wishes of the great majority of Americans, including a wide coalition of business and religious groups in Cruz's own party who have been actively lobbying Congress in favor of reform (see Immigration Daily's October 30 editorial)?

    What gave this one man, Ted Cruz, the power to cause a partial shutdown of the federal government, throwing hundreds of thousands of loyal federal employees out of work and costing the US economy $24 billion, as well as putting the world's financial system in jeopardy, merely out of spite over a duly enacted law, the Affordable Care Act, which like CIR, would also benefit millions of minority and less affluent people?

    In order to answer these questions, which are essential to understanding why CIR, if not actually dead in Congress, is not showing very many signs of life, it is important to go beyond the superficial day-to-day headlines about the latest pronouncements that one or another spokesperson on either side of the issue may have made, and instead to look at the recent history of extremist right wing demagogy in the US.

    I refer specifically to Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-WI), with whom Senator Ted Cruz has so much in common. Since no ID reader under the age of 60 will have any personal recollection of the grave danger to our democracy that was caused by this one single Senator, I will elaborate on this point in a forthcoming post.

    Updated 11-05-2013 at 07:56 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  2. Realists vs. Reactionaries: GOP Civil War Over CIR Continues. By Roger Algase

    The Hill reports that on October 30, a third House Republican, David Valadao (Calif.) announced that he is joining two others Republicans, Rep. Jeff Denham (Calif.) and Rep. Ileana Ross-Lehtinen (FL), who have previously announced their support of the House CIR bill (H.R. 15), introduced by Democratic Rep. Joe Garcia (FL). SeeThird Republican flips on immigration bill

    Valadao's statement reads:

    "By supporting H.R. 15 I am strengthening my message. Addressing immigration reform in the House cannot wait. I am serious about making real progress and will remain committed to doing whatever it takes to repair our broken immigration system."

    In contrast, a Texas Republican, Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, refused even to meet with President Obama to talk about immigration reform. See, The Hill, October 30: Rep. McCaul won't meet with Obama on immigration because he fears 'trap'

    According to The Hill, Rep. McCaul told right wing radio host Laura Ingraham the following:

    "I am not pushing for immigration reform. I've been against amnesty my entire career. I'm simply interested in getting the security piece done."

    Politico's top immigration reporter, Seung Min Kim, also states in her October 30 article Michael McCaul opposes immigration talks, that McCaul, along with some other House right wing Republicans, is adamantly opposed to any Senate-House conference on immigration reform. She quotes McCaul as telling the following to Laura Ingraham:

    "I am not gonna go down the road of conferencing with the Senate [comprehensive immigration reform] bill...And I told Boehner that he needs to stand up and make that very clear that we are not going to conference with the Senate on this. We're not going to conference with the Senate, period."

    That doesn't seem to leave very many beads in the "necklace" of House "piecemeal" immigration bills which some optimists once thought would ultimately add up to a comprehensive immigration reform package that could be negotiated with the Senate.

    To the contrary, statements like these show that the only pieces of the "piecemeal" approach that most House Republicans are interested in are the "enforcement only" ones. For McCaul and his allies, the 2012 election might just as well not have happened.

    One has to give credit to Rep. McCaul for his candor, however. No hypocrisy or lame excuses here about how "piecemeal" is better than "comprehensive", or that Obama "can't be "trusted to enforce the law", or how legalization will "bust the budget".

    Unlike some other House GOP leaders, McCaul is not trying to pretend that he has the slightest intention of supporting reform under any circumstances. He only wants to deport 11 million brown immigrants, plain and simple.

    The Republican civil war over immigration continues, with the GOP pro-reform "progressives" still badly outnumbered and outgunned by the reactionary, enforcement only, side in the House.

    However, we should be thankful to these few courageous Republicans (mostly from heavily Latino districts) who have been willing to stand up against their own party's negativity and bigotry. They, not the GOP Neanderthals and white supremacists, are America's future.

    Updated 10-31-2013 at 09:23 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  3. Et Tu, Marco? Rubio Backs Away From His Own CIR Bill. By Roger Algase

    This post has been updated as of 10:30 am on October 29.

    The Huffington Post reports on October 28 that Tea Party Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) a Gang of Eight member and key immigration supporter, is now backing away from his own CIR bill. See Marco Rubio Backs Away From Own Immigration Bill Becoming Law.

    Huffpost mentions that "Rubio received pushback from some conservatives for his support of comprehensive immigration reform, and has gone mostly silent on the issue."

    Et tu, Marco?

    However, some analysts are arguing that Senator Rubio's retreat on immigration reform in October, 2013 AD is not really a replay of the events in the Roman Senate on March 15, 44 BC, because Rubio has not actually changed his position on reform.

    Seung Min Kim, for example, writes the following in Politico Marco Rubio sparks immigration debate (October 28):

    "The Florida Senator has long called for giving House Republicans some space to come up with their own plan. And some advocates believe Rubio's call to focus on piecemeal aspects of reform could actually pave the way for some kind of agreement between the House and Senate."

    Who believes this, actually?

    Kim quotes the eternally optimistic voice of reform advocate Tamar Jacoby, who still insists:

    "This is making a more doable task for House Republicans. House Republicans are trying to pass pieces that add up to a package...'We'll meet you halfway' is essentially what the message is."

    Very nice idea, but meeting halfway is exactly what the House Republicans are trying to avoid at all costs. For them, going to conference with the Democratic-controlled Senate on immigration reform would be like meeting with the devil himself.

    This reminds me of Jacoby's statement in the LA Times this last summer that the House "piecemeal" bills would eventually add up like beads on a "necklace". In view of what has happened since, leaves on a funeral wreath might be a better analogy.

    As I have argued before, the problem with the "piecemeal" approach is not with the process, but with the substance. If the House were to pass a hundred piecemeal bills that together added up to real reform, who would complain?

    But, as Kim makes clear in her article:

    "A top concern of advocates is that if lawmakers only focus on areas of immigration reform with broad bipartisan agreement, one big group will be left out: the estimated 11.7 million undocumented immigrants in this country."

    Rubio's retreat has also given aid and comfort to the anti-immigration reform side. Kim quotes an aide to a GOP lawmaker who opposes reform as follows:

    "His [Rubio's] turnaround represents an admission that, on substance, the [Democratic CIR] bill is a catastrophe...This should be the end of anyone seriously attempting to promote this awful, awful, proposal."

    Nor has backing down on CIR helped Rubio very much with his own former Tea Party allies.

    Kim writes that Roy Beck, Executive Director of anti-immigrant NumbersUSA said of Rubio's turnaround on CIR:

    "He's going to be digging himself out a hole for some time."

    For those who balk at comparing Marco Rubio with Marcus Brutus, however, another comparison may be more apt:

    To paraphrase Shakespeare, Marco Rubio is in effect saying the same thing about reform that Marcus Antonius said of Julius Caesar:

    "I come to bury CIR, not to praise it."

    Updated 10-29-2013 at 11:58 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  4. Latest From House GOP Leaders: Immigration Reform 2013 - RIP. By Roger Algase

    The latest report from Politico is that Immigration Reform is still dead in the House for this year. See October 27, House leaders plot new fall GOP strategy.

    The Politico article has a long list of items which the House GOP leadership is considering taking up during the comparatively few days that the House will be in session at all during the remainder of 2013. But the last paragraph reads:

    "Here's what won't get done: immigration reform. The process is completely stalled and many are pronouncing it dead. House Republican leadership has no plans to bring any bill to the floor - even one to bulk up border security - because of concerns among the rank and file that it could be forced into a bad deal with Obama and the Democratic-controlled Senate."

    I hate to sound cynical, but one has to wonder if all the talk about "piecemeal" House immigration bills, including House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte's (R-VA) much discussed proposals, both known and secret, as well as the latest reported "guest worker" legalization proposal from Rep. Darryl Issa (R-CA) were ever meant as anything more than smoke and mirrors to make it seem as if the House had some intention of moving ahead with reform, when in fact it never had any.

    Or, is it possible that the House Republican leadership may have been interested in doing something about reform until its Tea Party and Heritage Action masters cracked the whip?

    Either way, RIP, CIR 2013.

    Updated 10-28-2013 at 12:42 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  5. Congressional Republicans Speak Out Against House CIR Obstruction. By Roger Algase

    An update to my October 25 post mentioned a Politico article GOP leaders hit from within describing the anger and frustration of on House Republican, Rep. Joe Heck of Nevada, over the news that the GOP leadership has ruled out voting on reform this year.

    Now another House Republican has spoken up. Politico reports that GOP Rep. Jeff Denham (CA) has announced his support for the House Democratic version of CIR, which he called a "good solution". See Jeff Denham open to House immigration bill, October 26.

    Meanwhile, the Huffingfton Post reports on October 26 that Tennessee Republican Senator Lamar Alexander, who voted for CIR and is now facing a Tea Party primary challenge, has spoken out against the Tea Party in a Washington Post interview. See, GOP Senator Breaks Ranks From Tea Party: "I'm In The Take-Charge-Of-The-Government Crowd."

    Finally, a few courageous Congressional Republicans are beginning to stand up against the Tea Party's tyranny. We will need more of them if CIR is to come back to life.

    Updated 10-28-2013 at 08:22 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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