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Bob Goodlatte Is Moving Ahead With Immigration Reform. Or Is He? By Roger Algase

Rating: 8 votes, 5.00 average.
There could be at least one sign of hope for Latinos and all CIR supporters that the Latin poet Horace's famous line from 2,000 years ago: Non omnis moriar ("I will not entirely die") may apply to immigration reform in the House of Representatives today.

On September 19, both Politico (Seung Min Kim) and the Huffington Post (Erica Werner) carried stories to the effect that the powerful House Judiciary Committee Chairman, Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) is pledging action on a variety of immigration related bills. See Politico: Bob Goodlatte backs 'earned' citizenship for DREAMers, and Huffpost: Bob Goodlatte Pledges Action On Immigration.

In her Politico article, Kim focuses on the contentious citizenship issue, on which there does not appear to be very much new from Goodlatte. Essentially, Goodlatte, according to the article, is repeating his previous statements that he would only support citizenship for what might be a very small slice of the unauthorized immigrant population indeed: DREAMers who marry US citizens or are sponsored by employers.

Better than nothing, perhaps, but comprehensive immigration reform this is not. However, in her Huffpost article, Werner discusses the status of broader immigration reform in Goodlatte's committee.

She describes Goodlatte's approach as follows:

"'We are taking what we call a step-by-step approach. We have objections to the Senate bill, but we don't say we want to kill the Senate bill', Goodlatte said at a gathering organized by House Republicans with Hispanic Republican leaders to recognize Hispanic Heritage Month. 'We want to do immigration reform right.'"

This may be encouraging not only for what Goodlatte said, but because of his Hispanic audience. It could indicate that, unlike some Republicans on the radical right, Goodlatte does not believe in writing off America's entire Latino population in favor of white voters only. That would certainly be a sign of progress.

The Huffpost article also reports that Goodlatte's committee is now working on four immigration bills, in addition to the four that the committee has already approved, and that a package of bills leading to a Senate-House conference has not been ruled out. Goodlatte also said he would like to see voting on the new bills begin next month.

So far, so good. It would be even more encouraging if we knew what is actually in the four new bills that Goodlatte's committee is considering, but Goodlatte is not yet ready to talk about that. However, we do know what is in the four bills that his committee has already passed.

According to the Huffpost, two of the committee's already passed bills deal with important pieces of reform, namely visas for high skilled workers and agricultural workers, and two are enforcement-only bills, including one that would give state and local governments immigration enforcement power.

This would appear to be a attempt to overturn the Supreme Court's Arizona v. US decision last year, and would definitely belong in the poison pill category. The chances of its being accepted by the Senate or signed by the president are close to zero.

What is in the four new bills that Goodlatte's committee is considering? The answer to this question might determine whether there will be immigration reform any time soon or not. We will all have to stay tuned.



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Updated 09-23-2013 at 06:23 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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