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Immigration Reform (2013 -2014): Rest in Peace, Pt. 1. By Roger Algase

Rating: 8 votes, 5.00 average.

As I have mentioned in several previous posts, one of my favorite quotes in all of Latin literature is the line by the great Roman poet Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus, 65 - 8 B.C.): Non omnis moriar ("I will not wholly die.")

Ever since the House Republicans announced last summer that the Senate's Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) bill, S.744 was Dead on Arrival in the House, immigration advocates have been desperately grasping at straws to support their hope that Horace's line applied and that, somehow, CIR would come back to life.

And there were a few straws to grasp at, or at least it so seemed. First, there was the idea that the House Republicans' "piecemeal" approach to reform would, in the words of one prominent reform advocate, add up to something resembling the Senate bill like "beads on a necklace".

At the time, I wrote that a noose might be a better comparison than a necklace, and I leave it up to readers to decide which metaphor was closer to reality. But there were other straws to come, such as House Speaker John Boehner's decision, which in retrospect appears to have been only a public relations ploy, to hire Rebecca Tallent, a former immigration staff member of pro-reform Senator John McCain (R-AZ)

Remember all the excitement at that announcement - but when was the last time that anyone heard from her?

Then there were various Republican feints, including an announcement that House Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) was working on reform bills, none of which have ever seen the light of day except for the regressive "ENFORCE" bill which would, among other things, overturn the Supreme Court's 2012 Arizona v. US decision.

Then came the much heralded "Principles" or "Standards" that John Boehner announced at the end of January, 2014. They were so loaded with enforcement-only poison pills that no one could have taken them seriously to begin with.

But only a few days after they were released, Boehner's "Standards" were ripped up into shreds and thrown overboard when he announced that there would be no immigration reform this year - which some Republican leaders have now expanded to mean during the rest of the Obama presidency.

Then there was the hope that pro-immigration advocates could shame the House Republicans into allowing a vote on reform by sitting-in, fasting, and, most recently, a political stunt such as Nancy Pelosi's discharge petition. The only result has been an increase in the number of hypocritical excuses on the part of the GOP leaders for blocking reform.

These excuses, which had already ranged all the way from Boston to Benghazi to Border Security, are now centered on the absurd claim that a president who has already deported close to 2 million people in his first five years cannot be "trusted" to enforce the immigration laws.

But none of this has deterred the pro-reform spin doctors from coming up with more theories about how reform is still alive and will one day pass in a Congress whose House majority party has written off minority voters and cares only about the Tea Party, while the Senate is in danger of being bought for the Republicans this fall by the Koch brothers.

One of the most popular current attempts to put a good face on a gloomy reality is the "window of opportunity" theory put forward by a number of commentators recently. This theory holds that we only have to wait until after the 2014 House GOP primaries are over by around June. Then, the "moderate, pro immigrant" House Republicans (both of them, or maybe a dozen at most) having survived Tea Party challenges (if they do survive), will then be free to vote their consciences on reform without fear of losing their seats in the fall.

I apologize again to readers who may not be particularly interested in the classics, but the idea of any Republican representative being free to ignore Tea Party voters in his or her district in the November election reminds me of Ovid's line: postquam evolvit caecoque exemit acervo ("after he released them and freed them from the blind heap").

This may have happened in Ovid's Metamorphoses, (i: 24) but being released from the blind Tea Party heap is not about to happen in the Republican party any time soon.

Still, no matter how clear the Republican leadership has made it clear that immigration reform is still DOA in the House, as it has been from the moment it firs arrived there from the Senate last June, the spirit of non omnis moriar has continued to hold sway among reform supporters.

That is, up until now.

To be continued in Part 2, which will appear in my next post.

_______________________________
Roger Algase is a New York lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 30 years, he has been devoted to helping business and professional applicants overcome the obstacles of our complex immigration system and achieve their goals of living and working in America.

His practice centers on H-1B and O-1 work visas, PERM labor certification and EB-1 extraordinary ability green cards, and permanent residence based on opposite or same sex marriage, as well as other immigration and citizenship cases.

He supports the efforts of everyone who is trying to bring about fairer and more open immigration policies. His email address is algaselex@gmail.com


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Updated 03-30-2014 at 09:56 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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