A toast to the 68 United States Senators who voted for Comprehensive Immigration Reform; sour grapes to the 32 that voted no.
Demerits to those that blackmailed bill authors into including extraneous political garbage in the bill.
On to the House of Representatives.
The House is working its way through component immigration bills that are being processed individually. This in contrast to the Senate’s Comprehensive approach. Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has not taken a firm position on a bill that includes specifics but it appears that he will need a majority of Republican members before scheduling bills on the voting docket.
Here are some of the principal objections to the Senate bill that have been brought forward by some House members:
1. It does not guarantee 100% success in stopping illegal border crossings.
2. It places legalization of up to 11 million illegally-present people ahead of perceived border enforcement.
3. E-verify (employment verification) is not implemented quickly.
4. It places too much power in the Department of Homeland Security leadership to waive requirements for legalization and conviction parameters of myriad disqualifying “crimes.
5. It includes a path to American citizenship.
6. The bill has too many pages.
Here are suggestions to obviate these objections:
1A. 100% enforcement of the border will not eliminate all illegal border crossers. The approved fencing’s construction can proceed immediately as a visual symbol to placate critics. They love the fence.
2A. Temporary legalization can be applied for immediately by a potential 11-million people but cannot be approved until fencing is underway and e-verify is functioning. Applicants cannot be deported while bona fide application is pending unless by court order or conviction of a felony.
3A. E-verify can be implemented within weeks using state-of-the-art technology/software and smart phones by contracted credit card companies or the Social Security Administration. Financed by individual charges to job applicants and employers (say $2.00). E-verify is a critical element to a successful immigration reform. Its implementation should be a “trigger” to allow people to proceed towards legalization.
4A. Congress shall set up a commission with seven (7) appointed members, three by each house of Congress and one by the six congressional appointees to review any waivers by the Homeland Secretary with veto or approval ability. Homeland cannot implement any waiver unless approved by this commission. The Commission will also report to Congress regularly on progress of fencing and e-verify.
5A. Path to citizenship shall remain but shall require a ten year probationary period of permanent residency and require no criminal activity, taxes filed every year, no collection of public benefits during the probationary period and no periods of unemployment exceeding national average of unemployment time, plus any back taxes levied by IRS determination.
6A. The House and/or subsequent House/Senate Conference Committee shall strip the Senate bill of all non-immigration-related subjects such as “Youth Employment” programs.
If House Republicans conjure up a bill which includes these suggestions it can produce a House bill of no more than 300 pages and take it into conference with a certitude that it can work a deal with Senators that will pass both houses.
Much of the Senate bill has extraneous material in it placed there to secure votes of recalcitrant Senators like Socialist Bernie Sanders (I-VT). A serious conference committee can consolidate the 1100 page Senate bill with a 300 page House version and come up with a tight reform bill majorities in both houses can support.
The House of Representatives has the same anti-immigration reform critics percentage as the Senate. One third of the Senate proved to be hard core anti-reform and that same percentage would apply in the House.
Unfortunately they would mostly be Republicans led by Iowa’s Representative Steve King and number 50-100, maybe. But Speaker Boehner only needs 115 Republican House members to vote with him town big.
We can assume that Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) will join Boehner in pushing for a successful effort.
This can happen with several component subject bills or a unification of them into one bill. Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi says that either way is acceptable to her in order to get something into conference.
All of the ingredients of a solid deal exist if only Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) wants one. Does he?
The question is, can the Republican Party afford to give up 95% of the Black vote and 70% of the Hispanic vote in future Presidential elections and hope to ever win again?
If the answer is yes so we never see another Republican President, Speaker Boehner can allow Steve King and Michelle Bachman to run the House.
If not, then John Boehner can save the GOP’s day and push through an immigration deal that prevents Democrats from ever again locking up 70% of the Hispanic vote like they did last November. ###
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