Partisanship Causes Congressional Standstill on Immigration

Although Congress has called for bipartisan immigration reform in the past year, Republican members of the House do not appear to be inclined to pass such a bill.

In last year’s presidential election, Mitt Romney — whose comment about “self-deportation” infuriated immigration advocates — lost the Latino vote by a 44-percentage-point margin, the largest deficit of any Republican presidential candidate since the Clinton era. Alarmed GOP leaders jump-started congressional talks toward a bipartisan immigration overhaul, and Boehner announced the time had come for Congress to act.

But the Speaker has refused to take up the Senate’s sweeping bipartisan overhaul of immigration laws, even though it would probably pass the House with Democratic support; nor are House Republicans expected to vote on their own measures any time soon.

Divisions within the House GOP have left the party at a standstill. More Republican lawmakers than ever — nearly two dozen, by some counts — support the cornerstone of an immigration overhaul, which is a path to citizenship for immigrants currently in the U.S. illegally.

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This strict gatekeeping displayed by Speaker Boehner is a manifestation of the hyper-partisanship in Congress today. Because he knows that the majority party has a high chance of being rolled in a vote on the Senate immigration bill, the Speaker will not bring it to a vote.

This is yet another demonstration of the disunity in the Republican Party. “There’s just no cohesion there yet,” said Senator John McCain, who has tried to persuade Republicans to take action. “All I hope is that they realize that the issue is not going away — that we need to act on it.”

If the party continues to obstruct legislation that the American electorate wants to be passed, they will be held accountable in the next election cycle.

 

Jeremy Tudin

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