House Republicans would be foolish not to pass comprehensive immigration reform
The government shutdown and looming debt-ceiling debate shouldn't prevent House Republicans from tackling comprehensive immigration reform. A practical, common-ground solution could improve America's fiscal health and it's what the majority of voters are calling for.
Opponents of immigration reform are once again speculating about the death of comprehensive immigration reform this year. And at first glance, the House of Representatives calendar is too full with other issues – chiefly now the budget battle and government shutdown, as well as the looming debt ceiling fight.Skip to next paragraph
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While Congress certainly has other important issues to consider this year, the notion that the House cannot advance immigration legislation because of lack of votes or lack of time is flawed. In fact, comprehensive immigration reform has been gaining momentum among Republicans who are listening to their constituents’ demands. And tackling immigration reform with practical, common ground solutions has the potential to improve America’s long- and short-term fiscal health as well.
On October 5th, supporters of comprehensive immigration reform will rally in more than 100 cities and the Capitol to demand speedy action. House Republicans would be wise to listen to what overwhelming majorities of US citizens – as well as small businesses, faith communities, and the technology and agricultural sectors – are clamoring for: comprehensive immigration reform in 2013.
House Democrats released their own version of a comprehensive immigration reform bill yesterday to remind their GOP colleagues of this issue’s urgency, but they need Republican support to make real progress. Meanwhile, House Republicans are reportedly working on a series of smaller-scale proposals after their party leadership refused to vote on the comprehensive immigration bill that the Senate passed with strong bipartisan support earlier this year.
The Senate legislation included the provision for an earned path to citizenship for eleven million undocumented immigrants, contingent on a heavy immigration enforcement build-up. The spring immigration debate in the Senate that led to this bipartisan bill was largely the result of legislators’ wake-up call from the 2012 elections, when Latino and immigrant voters overwhelmingly supported Democrats and helped deliver President Obama’s re-election.
The momentum remains on the side of Latinos, immigrants, and other supporters of reform. And the overwhelming majority of Americans favor comprehensive immigration reform – rather than piecemeal changes or those that focus on enforcement-only approaches or work visas for particular industries.
Over the summer, advocates of reform organized approximately 1,200 events, including vigils and protests, in more than 40 states; attended nearly 150 town halls; conducted more than 350 congressional visits; collected 600,000 signatures for a petition for House Speaker John Boehner; and contacted members of Congress nearly 100,000 times, according to the Alliance for Citizenship’s database. Now, on Oct. 5, supporters will again rally nationwide to demand comprehensive immigration reform.