Immigration bill by August?
Immigration reform seemed dead just a few weeks ago. But a concerted effort by GOP backers of reform, and some compromise from Democrats, have revived efforts in the House to get a bill passed by both chambers before the end of term.
A bipartisan overhaul of immigration, considered dead in the water just a few weeks ago, is not only alive, according to the House Republican leading efforts to broker a deal — it’s gaining steam.
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., told CQ Roll Call that pro-rewrite calls earlier this week from two Illinois Republicans, Reps. Adam Kinzinger and Aaron Schock, recent comments from Speaker John A. Boehner, combined with a rash of immigration rallies and protests across the nation in recent days, are indications that momentum has shifted back to those hoping to implement an overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws this year.
Diaz-Balart, a major player in ongoing efforts to produce a bill that could balance Republican demands for border security with Democratic calls for legal status for the undocumented, said a solution is closer than ever.
“I think we finally have the policy right,” he said in a phone interview. “I think we have figured out a way to secure, to have border and interior security, holding the administration accountable for the enforcement … forcing the administration to enforce the law whether they want to or not. And I think we figured out a way to deal with the folks that are here in a way that is fair — fair, by the way, to those in the legal system … who are doing everything legally, and also deals with the folks that are here in a way that is fair and reasonable. And adheres, strictly adheres, to the rule of law.
“So I think we finally have the policy right. And what we’re finding is more and more people out there as they’re seeing it, different aspects of the policy, are starting to say, ‘Hey, that is something that makes sense.’”
Diaz-Balart said he thinks they’re close to a deal that can pass both chambers.
“It is as close as we have ever been. It is still a big, big, heavy lift,” he said. “I think we’re going to get there.”
There is no upside politically for Republicans to pass immigration reform. And what's the point of even discussing "border security" when the president refuses to enforce the laws already on the books? Are these Republicans dumb enough to believe Obama on securing our borders and deportation?
Reforms are needed - especially in border security, the guest worker program, and visa procedures. This was the GOP's original plan and was supposed to be taken up in the next Congress - not a matter of weeks before an election. Voting on a comprehensive bill - no doubt containing elements that most Republicans would find abhorrent - is political suicide. Does this handful of Republicans supporting a bill believe the GOP will get any credit at all if comprehensive reform passes?
It's stupid in too many ways to count.