Another Immigration Fight, But Still No Progress

Yesterday we wrote about the tragic ICE raid in the district, so today we’re turning our attention to the immigration debate once more. We are in desperate need of reform, yet Congress has failed at every possible moment.

The government shut down in January over immigration disputes. Then, Congress had an open week designated for immigration reform, a highly unusual move that was supposed to open up the debate. The result? Nothing. Just a few weeks ago, the Farm Bill fell apart due to another fight on immigration.

Now we’ve reached yet another intra-party showdown.

For months, the Republican party has failed to organize themselves or agree on any number of proposed immigration bills that would meet President Trump’s “four pillars” for reform. As a result of this stalemate, Republicans are now at war with themselves.

Debates are continuing throughout today, but if there is no solution, some moderate Republicans have offered to work with Democrats to force a vote on the issue. Anxious about DACA recipients, who have been facing an uncertain future for months now, the House is planning to use a discharge petition, which can force a vote on legislation even if leadership doesn’t allow it. The discharge petition needs 218 signatures; as of Thursday morning, it had 215. If the discharge petition passes, four different immigration bills are expected to be voted on.

Up until this point, Republicans have largely split support between two proposals: the Goodlatte bill, a conservative proposal that allocates a lot of funding for border security, increased verification of workers’ legal status, and no pathway for DACA recipients; and the more moderate Hurd-Aguilar bill (also called the Uniting and Securing America Act), which offers DACA recipients permanent legal status and provides some funding for increased border security. The USA Act has bipartisan sponsors in both the House and the Senate, and earlier this week John McCain, still at home recovering from brain cancer, said he supported forcing a vote on it.

The crux of this issue is that some moderate Republicans, frustrated by party infighting and worried about the future of DACA recipients, have broken with the ranks to force a vote on this very pressing issue, even if that means siding with Democrats.

And of course, where is Jim Jordan on all of this? Jordan is avoiding any progress or compromise, calling bipartisan, moderate legislation “amnesty.” As always, Jordan takes the most extreme, impossible position, avoiding solutions rather than proposing them.

Yet, lawmakers have failed for months now to find a suitable compromise on immigration, and DACA recipients have been used as a bargaining chip on almost every other major policy debate in the last six months. It’s completely unfair for the government to manipulate the futures of young people in this way. Even the Pope has said that DACA recipients should be able to remain in the US, while polls have consistently shown that 70% of Americans support legalized status for DACA recipients.

It’s time for Jim Jordan and the others in the Freedom Caucus to stop make excuses why other bills won’t work and start contributing to solutions. It’s time to stop cruelly dangling these people’s future in front of them, and stop obstructing answer for the sake of political posturing. It’s time they take some responsibility, and stand up for the values that make this country great.

Janet GarrettComment