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Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal

A Republican-controlled Senate may be the only way immigration reform passes

Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.
My latest oped originally published on Fox News Latino.

With only a few weeks left before the midterm elections, and on the heels of President Obama’s delay of ameliorative executive action, immigration reform activists are at a crossroads as to where to throw the power of their vote. Tossing gasoline onto an already roaring fire was at risk Senators Mary Landrieu (D- LA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Mark Pryor (D-AR) and Kay Hagan (D-NC) who linked arms with Republican Tea Party favorite Ted Cruz calling to defund executive actions that provide deportation relief to the undocumented community.

All four Democrats are fighting for their political lives as evidenced by the break from Senate Democrats who ultimately defeated the Republican-led charge to permit amendments to a continuing resolution. The activist community took note.

Presente.org, the nation’s largest online Latino organization, issued a statement that “Latinos are not political footballs to be thrown back and forth as convenient,” while circulating an online petition calling for people to oppose Senator Pryor in his reelection bid reasoning that “they didn't have our backs — so we won’t have theirs.” They were not alone.

The National Coordinating Committee for Fair and Humane Immigration Reform 2014 recommended that Latino voters oppose any candidate, regardless of party affiliation, that does not support an immediate end to deportations. The coalition explained that their intent is to “forge an independent political electorate among Latino communities,” and their goal is to make both parties work for the Hispanic vote, while opposing candidates that do not support the core needs of the constituency. A worthy goal indeed, but at what cost?
House Republicans have been the singular force obstructing immigration reform since bipartisan Senate legislation passed over a year ago, and most presume they will continue to obstruct for the remainder of the lame duck Obama Presidency. Is there any credible reason to believe that Republicans will drive reform efforts in the event of a Senate takeover?

The short answer: possibly.

In an interview with George Stephanopoulos, Speaker Boehner played the same old tired tune that he “absolutely” could get the votes needed to advance legislation through the House remarking that “it was time to do immigration reform.” The Speaker claims to be confident that his party will act, but he predictably attached the caveat that any executive action providing deportation relief will “poison the well” to reform negotiations.

But put that aside, as there have been other more believable signs that Republicans may intend to advance immigration reform in the event of a Senate takeover. Republican immigration torch bearer Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) recently went on record stating that the chances of immigration reform passing may actually increase with a GOP controlled Senate. Republican Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA), who supports a pathway to citizenship, agreed stating that “I think there would certainly be greater trust between the House and Senate in agreeing on something.”

There appears to be movement in the GOP-controlled House towards a middle of the road immigration reform solution. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-ID) have both spoken about removing one of the major impediments preventing a significant percentage of the undocumented community from becoming legal. They have both acknowledged that any solution with an end-game resulting in the deportation of 11 million people is neither politically viable nor legally plausible, as our immigration courts simply do not possess the resources necessary to effectuate removals on a scale of that magnitude.

Independent immigration policy analyst Alex Nowrasteh of the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity has also expressed cautious optimism that all may not be lost should the GOP wrestle control of the upper house stating that "a Republican controlled Senate could liberalize the legal immigration system and address many of the concerns raised by moderate Republicans." He noted that there may also be benefits should Republicans control the immigration reform narrative, which includes the creation of a workable guest worker program, and an immigration system that better serves our nation’s economic needs.

In fact, there are growing whispers that the only way immigration reform has any chance of passage before the 2016 presidential election is if the Republicans win the Senate, because should they fail in their bid they will continue their obstruction in the House.

Recent polls reveal that battleground races are too close to call, but whatever the final outcome the lesson to be learned is that the Hispanic electorate is a force that can no longer be ignored, and that those opposing them will find themselves on the wrong side of history.

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Updated 10-06-2014 at 04:05 PM by MKolken

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Comments

  1. Nolan Rappaport's Avatar
    Unfortunately, this sentence from your article represents the views of many democrats, "In fact, there are growing whispers that the only way immigration reform has any chance of passage before the 2016 presidential election is if the Republicans win the Senate, because should they fail in their bid they will continue their obstruction in the House." This is a misrepresentation of what happened to S744.

    We have a two party system, and unless one party has complete control of the Congress, a bill has to meet the political needs of both parties. S744 was dead on arrival in the House because it wasn't even close to meeting the political needs of the House republicans. In fact, it hadn't met the political needs of the Senate republicans either; 70% of the Senate republicans voted against it. See my article, "It is time to try a different approach to comprehensive immigration reform" (May 2, 2014), http://discuss.ilw.com/content.php?3087-Article-It-is-time-to-try-a-different-approach-to-comprehensive-immigration-reform-By-Nolan-Rappaport

    I agree that if the republicans take the majority in the Senate, they are likely to want to pass immigration reform legislation. Whether they succeed will depend on whether they repeat the mistake the democrats made and pass a bill in the Senate that is opposed by most of the Democratic senators and will be opposed by most of the House democrats too.
  2. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    I agree with Matt that a Republican-controlled Senate would be more likely to have a relationship of "trust" with the House, leading to a better chance of passing an immigration "reform" bill - if "reform" means defunding DACA, fast tracking deportations of even more unauthorized immigrants, criminalizing the immigration system, giving states more power to pass draconian Arizona-type racial profiling immigrant persecution laws and closing our borders to even more legal immigrants, whether H-1B computer professionals from India or family members of USC/LPR's from Latin America.

    That is what it would take to satisfy the "political needs" of most Republican lawmakers in both Houses of Congress which Nolan refers to, and their predominantly white voter base.

    Yes, if the Republicans control both Houses of Congress, there may very likely be an immigration bill reaching the president's desk - one which every immigration advocate in America will be expecting the president to veto.

    Let us hope that there will not be enough Republicans in both chambers to override the veto.

    Roger Algase
    Updated 10-07-2014 at 12:41 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  3. Nolan Rappaport's Avatar
    Roger, apparently, did not read the article I cited in my comment. The last legalization program, IRCA, did meet the needs of both parties, and it had more than just a legalization program for pro-immigrant advocates. I summarize its provisions in my article. It is an example of what can be accomplished when both parties work together, but it did take roughly six years to finish. That kind of agreement is not easy to achieve. In any case, Roger and the other pessimistic democrats are not furthering the prospect of comprehensive immigration reform with their negative attitudes. It is not possible to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill without republican cooperation, and that won't happen until we stop demonizing them and start working with them to write a bill that meets the political needs of both parties.
  4. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Nolan, the Republican party has moved a lot farther to the extreme right on immigration than was the case three decades ago when Ronald Reagan signed the last legalization proposal.

    One can only imagine the venom which would be directed at Ronald Reagan if he were still around and on the podium debating Republicans such as Steve King, Ted Cruz, Jeff Sessions, Michele Bachmann, et al on immigration. They would be reading him out of the party and calling him every name in the book.

    I suggest that we confine our discussion to today's GOP's "political needs" on immigration, not those of the 1980's, which are barely more relevant to today than those of the 1880's

    Roger Algase
  5. Nolan rappaport's Avatar
    it doesn't matter where the republicans are with their political views on immigration. We have to work with them, wait until democrats have absolute control in congress and a democratic president, or overthrow the government and establish a one party congress with democrats in charge.
  6. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Let's try to bring about Nolan's second alternative - a Democratic president and Congress. Short of that we need executive action by the president. The idea that he lacks the power to do this is as much of a myth as the canard, promoted by at least a few unscrupuous Republican politicians, that Central American children are bringing ebola into the US, even though not a single case has been reported in all of Latin America.

    Roger Algase
  7. MKolken's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ImmigrationLawBlogs
    Let's try to bring about Nolan's second alternative - a Democratic president and Congress.
    We had that in 2009, and it got us mass deportations and broken campaign promises.
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