Will Government Shutdown Kill Immigration Reform for This Year?
As the Congress of the United States is now all consumed with one of its primary constitutional duties, creating a budget for government spending, hopes for a solution to our nation's border security and immigration problems seem to be dwindling quickly. After a visit this weekend to the Arizona/Mexico border and a meeting with the family of fallen Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, it is very sad to see this issue being kicked down the road.
These issues need to be addressed before we get in to the even more hyper-partisan season of election year politics. (Is it even possible for things to get more hyper-partisan than they are right now?) For too many years, we have ignored the border and refused to deal with fixing an immigration system that is so broken we have millions of people in this country who remain unidentified. It is a massive threat to our security.
RightSideNews.com reports that Republican leaders are continuing their work on immigration reform behind the scenes. It is hoped there will be a debate on the House floor as early as the end of this month. For that to happen, the government shutdown is going to have to move forward. Houston area Congressman Mike McCaul (R-TX), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee and author of H.R. 1417 (Border Security Results Act) reflected on the issue stating, "I would think that [immigration] would be the next agenda item in the queue after we're done with this mess."
RightSideNews continued their report with the following:
When the House acts, it is widely expected that Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) will first take up Rep. McCaul's border bill, co-sponsored by fellow Texan and longtime amnesty advocate Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX). Unfortunately, H.R. 1417 shares many of the same problems with the Senate amnesty bill (S. 744). For example, H.R. 1417 requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to submit a plan for apprehending 90 percent of illegal border crossers, but fails to require that DHS actually achieve that goal. Many anticipate House Leadership intends to use H.R. 1417 as a vehicle to conference with the Senate bill.
In the meantime, House Democrats are making a move to steal the spotlight on the issue and once again paint Republicans with a anti-Hispanic brush in order to gain votes. Fox News Latino reports House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi unveiled a new bill this week that provides a path to legal status for a subset of illegal aliens who meet a strict criteria. It is interesting to note they have moved to "path to legal status" and not citizenship.
On the down side, Pelosi's bill omits a provision from the Senate bill calling for 700 miles of additional fence and adding 20,000 miles of fencing, according to the Washington Post. However, they did include a provision to establish a strategy to require Homeland Security to be able to arrest 90% of those crossing the border illegally.
The Fox News Latino report goes on to say,
“The House bill addresses all aspects of the immigration system,” said a statement by America’s Voice, a Washington D.C.-based group that favors reform that would include a path to legal status. “It is not a perfect bill. But we get it: Democrats decided to include only language that was approved on a bipartisan basis in both the Senate and House as a way to encourage bipartisanship in the House.”
Can Congress get its act together in order to deal with border security and illegal immigration? Or, will we simply punt the ball down the road and continue to have a border that is not secure and illegal immigrants roaming our nation without identification or any means of being properly taxed for those who seek employment.
My visit to the Arizona border this week confirmed what we already know. The border is not secure, despite what Obama and DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano would have us believe. I interviewed Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels while visiting the border. He told me about the increasing violence along the border (on the U.S. side) that has been happening over the past year or so. I will bring you that report early next week.
It is time for Congress to act. I urge you to contact your representatives and let them know you want the borders secured and a solution to our broken immigration system.