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Immigration Reform (2013 -2014): Rest in Peace, Pt. 2. By Roger Algase

Rating: 8 votes, 5.00 average.
This post will continue my obituary of the late, lamented initiative known as Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR), or simply: Immigration Reform. In my last post, I reviewed some of the more popular theories which immigration supporters were using to try to keep their hopes alive in the face of the ugly reality of the refusal of House Republican leaders to take any action on reform, other than occasional empty gestures designed to throw the pro-reform side off balance.

I also pointed out that reform supporters have been willing to follow almost any kind of spin, grasp at any kind of straw, in order to convince themselves that reform is non omnis moriar, i.e. not wholly dead.

But all indications are that the time for reform supporters to keep trying to delude themselves has now run out, or at least is fast coming to an end. Finally, someone has had the courage to describe the unvarnished reality. I refer to a March 28 article by Benjy Sarlin of msnbc: This is what it looks like when immigration reform dies

http://www.realclearpolicy.com/2014/...ead_18543.html

Sarlin writes:

"You can't say they didn't try.

Supporters of immigration reform did everything they could to pass a law. They threw their support behind bipartisan negotiations in the Senate that led to the passage of a promising bill. They organized religious leaders, CEO's and law enforcement to lobby Republicans [link omitted] in their districts. They even managed to broker a peace deal [link omitted] between unions and corporations.

None of it worked. Amid a growing consensus House Republican are unlikely to pass a bill [link omitted] any time soon, lawmakers, activists, and the White House are moving onto a post-reform phase focused on immediate relief for undocumented immigrants and wreaking electoral vengeance on the GOP."

In other words, non omnis moriar for immigration reform through Congressional legislation has now turned into Requiescat in Pace (RIP).

With hindsight, one can see that the mass self-delusion in the pro-immigrant camp that House Republicans would eventually pass something at least resembling reform, a delusion that lasted for three-quarters of a year, from the time that John Boehner first pronounced the Senate CIR bill DOA in the House last June until now, served an important purpose from the White House point of view.

It diverted attention away from President Obama's record-setting pace of deportations and took some of the pressure off him to cut back. After all, he, not John Boehner or Bob Goodlatte, is the one who is now about to have deported two million immigrants since he took office, with many more to go.

But the pressure is now squarely on the president. Sarlin writes:

"'The clear reality is comprehensive immigration reform is dead this year.' Arturo Carmona, executive director of Present.org, told msnbc. 'We can't continue to have this contradictory policy where President Obama on the one side is saying fix the broken immigration system while he continues to deport our families at unprecedented rates.'"

Sarlin continues:

"As the saying goes, time is a flat circle. Immigration activists hope to repeat the cycle [beginning with DACA in 2012] by forcing the White House to take unilateral action, which would set the stage for Latino voters to punish the GOP in 2016, which would in turn pressure Republican leaders to finally cave in on reform."

This strategy not only makes good sense, having already worked once before in 2012, but it is the only one that is in tune with reality.

Earlier in his article, Sarlin quotes another, usually more optimistic immigration reform advocate, Frank Sharry, as saying that the chance of Republicans abandoning reform this year only to return to it in the middle of the 2016 presidential primary are "somewhere between zilch and nada."

What is there to stop Obama from adopting the unilateral approach to reform, which is now clearly the only one left? If he does use the administrative power over immigration enforcement which the Supreme Court affirmed as recently as in 2012, in Arizona v. US, he will certainly come under a storm of criticism for "exceeding his Constitutional powers" from the same Republicans who put through the failed "Special Registration" program targeting Muslim immigrants in the wake of 9/11 without asking Congress for permission.

He may even face a move for an impeachment circus in the House, but there is zero chance of his actually being removed from office, even if the Koch brothers succeed in buying back control of the Senate for the GOP this fall. All that Obama needs is enough backbone to do the right thing.

I don't know if the president reads the classics, but he might do well to take to heart Virgil's line from the Aeneid (vi: 261):

nunc animis opus, Aenea, nunc pectore firmo. ("Now you need your courage. Now let your heart be strong.")

_________________________________
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 03-31-2014 at 09:00 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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