The Push for Reform – A Bipartisan effort
In the wake of the government shutdown and reboot, President Obama and hundreds of advocates for immigrant reform have taken up the crusade against immigration, bringing this issue to the forefront of the minds of policy makers.
Advocates insist that reform is dead, planting themselves in front of deportation vehicles and the offices of nine representatives with high latino populations, including the following: Reps. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), David Valadao (R-Calif.), Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) and Joe Heck (R-Nev.). Note: they are all Republican.
The issue is being forced to the forefront because there are less than 20 days left in the legislative calendar – and even though there are more than two months left until the end of the year, Congress will focus solely on the budget crisis – hence, this push. Once the new year hits, 2014 is midterm election year, which means that the focus will be on reelection. (A/N: This is comforting to know that half of every term of a representative is focused on reelection. It is no wonder that the American people feel that Congress is inefficient.)
Immigration has a chance though. Because Boehner brought a vote to the floor of the House that was backed by Democrats and moderate Republicans to end a shutdown, the hope is that he will be swayed to do so again when it comes to immigration. Senate Bill 744 passed over the summer, and the bill drafted by the Democrats may have a chance to pass in the House. In fact, Representative Jeff Dunham from California has signed on and partnered with Nancy Pelosi to attempt and draw partisan support for a House bill. This House bill is similar to the Senate bill. The key difference is in the amendments.
In the Senate version, a controversial amendment was added that “would add 700 hundred of miles of fencing and 20,000 border control agents along the U.S.-Mexico border. That provision was added to the Senate bill to help win votes from conservative Republicans.” However, this was incredibly controversial, and members of the House did not want this amendment added. Instead, a bill “Democratic lawmakers substituted […] that was passed unanimously by the House Homeland Security Committee last spring [was introduced]. That plan instructs the Department of Homeland Security to write a plan that could ensure the apprehension of 90 percent of illegal border-crossers in high-traffic areas within two years and across the entire southern border within five years.” This amendment, since it received bipartisan support, would be more able to draw moderate and even more extreme GOP members to push Boehner to bring a vote to the House floor.
The question is, will Boehner do so? Boehner claims that immigration reform is important and that he is “hopeful” that there will be a vote, but he can make no promises. This legislation is clearly important enough to vote upon – it may even be advantagous for him to say that he called this vote and got legislation to pass (credit claiming). President Obama has put the impetus on him and on the House Republicans. Hopefully Dunham, who crossed the line and responded to the protests at his office, can convince other moderates to cross the aisle, and they can all pressure Boehner into allowing a vote. Otherwise, Boehner may not be in a good position come mid-term elections.