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Republicans Keep Moving Immigration Reform Goalposts: Updated. By Roger Algase

Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average.

This post is updated as of January 23, 9:47 am:

Laura Matthews writes in following in her January 22 International Business Times article Will Republican Principles On Immigration Reform Lead To A Bill This Year?

http://www.ibtimes.com/will-republic...l-year-1545241

"[House Speaker John Boehner's spokesman Michael] Steel wouldn't talk about the specifics of these [House GOP] immigration principles, but House leadership and policy aides told the National Journal that they are going to be broad and won't be a concrete proposal. But if Republicans are unwilling to go to conference with a bill, and will reduce it to only a set of principles, that brings on the question of how serious they are about reforming immigration."


The answer may be that they are not very serious. Instead, there is every reason to believe that they are afraid or unwilling to take on their intolerant right wing. Matthews quotes a FAIR spokesperson as follows:

"The Republicans are absolutely clueless if they think that an amnesty bill is helping their brand with Hispanics. It's not...It's destroying their party, and, moreover, whatever miniscule amount of support that Republicans might pick up from Hispanics will be far, far, outweighed by the literal defection of core conservative voters. This is the last chance..."

There is nothing mysterious about why, over the past six months, the House Republicans have refused to go to conference on the Senate CIR bill (which is of course far from perfect, but better than none at all), while failing to produce one of their own.

Nor is it rocket science to figure out why whatever trial balloons (or feints) that they have come up with in the way of committee bills (or expected general "principles") are loaded up with enforcement poison pills, such as putting Sheriff Joe and the Alabama anti-immigrant racist officials back in business, which GOP leaders know that immigration advocates could never accept.

The analogy with gun control is clear. Even though a wide cross section of Americans in both parties want some kind of meaningful reform, including legalization, if not citizenship, for millions of out-of-status immigrants, a small but powerful lobby of immigrant-haters and anti-minority bigots is blocking it. Until that reality changes, reform will continue, at least on the Republican side, to be all talk and no action.

The following is my original post:

Does anyone remember back in June, 2013, when immigration reform seemed so simple? All that the Democrats had to do in those days was to agree to throw some people under the bus to please a few Senate Republicans (14, to be exact) and, presto, S.744, the grand CIR compromise passed.

Sorry about the same sex couples who would not be able to get green cards (before they were rescued by the Supreme Court). Sorry about the hundreds of thousands, or maybe more than a million, immigrants who arrived in the US without permission after the December 31, 2011 cutoff date and would therefore not be eligible for legalization.

Sorry also about the tens of thousands legal immigrants from Africa, Asia and Latin America who have been receiving green cards each year under the DV lottery program, which the Senate bill would eliminate. What does cutting off legal green cards for up to 55,000 non-white immigrants each year have to do with preventing illegal immigration?

Ditto for green cards for the siblings of US citizens. Under the bus with them too, if that was what it took to reach a reform deal with the Republicans.

Well, that was almost enough for a deal - but not quite. It took an additional $46 billion in taxpayer money to line the pockets of well connected defense contractors with all their "border security" high tech equipment before enough Senators in the Republican party of small government, ending wasteful spending and balanced budgets, the party that can't find money for food stamps or extending long term unemployment benefits, would agree to the deal to let it pass.

Oh, and there was the long and rocky road 13 year road to citizenship for legalized immigrants, full of land mines and booby traps. But at least there was a pathway.

Too bad that the entire Senate CIR bill was declared DOA in the House, and reform was turned over to "Piecemeal Bob" Goodlatte (R-VA) of the House Judiciary Committee. But hope for reform stayed alive - it was only necessary to throw more people under the bus, in order to keep up with the moving Republican goalposts.

So next, the House Republicans said "boo" about a "special" pathway to citizenship. OK, we immigration supporters said to ourselves, if that is what it takes to get a deal, under the bus with them too. Besides, many immigrants who would benefit from legalization have American children (whom some immigrant haters still call "anchor babies"). All they have to do is hurry up and turn 21 faster, and problem solved.

Or maybe some of the provisionally legalized people seeking permanent residence or citizenship can marry US citizens. Or even get sponsored for labor certification, except that is hard enough for skilled workers and almost impossible for unskilled ones. But who cares about details like that? Under the bus with them too - we have to make a deal.

So now, having agreed to throw hundreds of thousands, or millions, of people under a whole fleet of busses, as well as to flush $46 billion down the tubes, reform backers still don't have a deal. We don't even have a Republican proposal, or a bill of any sort that has a chance of reaching the House. floor and being voted on.

What have we got? A set of "principles" that House Speaker John Boehner will announce shortly (we are told). And what do we know, if anything, about these "principles"? Only that according to The Hill: Democrats must decide to how far to bend on immigration reform (January 20),
the Republicans will ask for a) more state and local authority to enforce the immigration laws, which would put people like Sheriff Joe and the Alabama racist officials right back in the middle of the immigrant persecution business, and b) more enforcement "triggers" (achievable, or more likely, otherwise) before legalization would go into effect for anyone.

This may seem like changing the subject, but I read the other day that the Mars spacecraft sent back a photo showing an unexpected object that hadn't appeared in an earlier photo of the same terrain. According to the scientists, it was a new rock which had arrived on the red planet in some unexplained manner.

More likely, it was the Republican immigration reform goalposts.

How much longer will immigration reform supporters keep letting themselves be played for suckers by Republicans who are pretending to take up immigration reform only so they can find an excuse to blame the Democrats when it fails (since "if it fails" is not in the GOP playbook - the Republicans like guaranteed certainty of result on this issue).

Will all this caving in, throwing more and more people under bigger and bigger busses, actually produce an immigration reform deal? Maybe on Mars, where there isn't much immigration demand yet, as far as I know.

When I first read The Hill's headline, I thought that there had been a word left out by mistake and that "bend" was meant to say: "bend over". That is what the Republicans are in effect asking immigration supporters to do.

But even that would not likely be enough to result in any reform deal. And even if it did, would the deal be better for millions of immigrants than what we have now?

Or, given the willingness of many immigration reform supporters to keep caving in on principle, throw more and more immigrants under the bus and chase after the constantly moving Republican goalposts no matter what part of this, (or some other) solar system they might now be on their way to, would any deal that might be reached with a Republican party that is still infected with bigotry against non-white immigrants be even worse than what we have right now?

This is a question well worth asking, in my opinion.
______________________________

Roger Algase, an attorney and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, has been practicing immigration law in New York City for more than 30 years.

He has helped many capable and hard-working professionals with H-1B, extraordinary ability and Labor Certification cases, among others, to develop strategies leading to successful results. He also represents opposite and same sex married couples in green card applications.

Roger Algase has made it possible for immigrants from many parts of the world to achieve their goals, advance their careers, and build a firm foundation for their their lives in America. His email address is algaselex@gmail.com

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Updated 01-25-2014 at 04:07 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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Comments

  1. Jack2's Avatar
    Interesting poll:

    27. If a candidate for Congress supports - a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, would you be more likely to vote for a candidate who held this position, less likely, or wouldn't it make a difference?
    Tot Rep Dem Ind Men Wom Wht Blk Hsp
    More likely 27% 13% 44% 25% 26% 28% 24% 27% 46%
    Less likely 38 52 22 41 41 35 41 29 18
    No difference 31 31 30 30 29 33 31 39 31
    DK/NA 4 3 4 4 4 4 4 5 5


    http://www.quinnipiac.edu/images/polling/us/us01082014_ur6yh4.pdf/


    Also, the poll indicates that immigration isn't the highest priority issue except for 5%. The poll does not distinguish but it would make sense that about half of that is probably anti-mass legalization/pro-rule of law. Of the seemingly few people who care a lot about immigration policy, how many of the pro-legalization side are going to convert to the GOP over a statement of immigration principles just because it includes mass legalization (and presumably not even with a special pathway)? It seems like their bigger concern would be not offending the pro-rule of law side they need to vote for them and a lot of these people are noticing that they are talking out of both sides of their mouths, e.g., Goodlatte telling Telemundo that he sees "no reason" why we can't have mass legalization. Gimmicks designed to reassure people not thrilled with rewarding illegality may not work. Whatever they do will probably be dismissed as insincere posturing by both sides--so why even bother?
  2. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    I agree with the comment about Bob Goodlatte and other House Republicans who are talking out of both sides of their mouths on immigration reform.

    I do not think that Latinos and other immigration supporters are going to be fooled by vague statements, or "principles", saying that something should be done to help out of status immigrants, mixed with chest-thumping for more draconian enforcement.

    Unless and until The Republicans come up with a realistic legalization bill free from poison pills, which they have shown no signs of doing, immigration supporters of all ethnic backgrounds will, rightfully look on the Republicans as the anti-minority and anti-immigrant party of cowardly politicians who are afraid to take on the white supremacist bigots in their midst.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 01-23-2014 at 07:00 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
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