The decision by conservative GOP members of the House of Representatives on Wednesday to rule out any immigration legislation in the House this year is understandable, but regrettable.
Last week, House GOP leaders unveiled their broad immigration principles that raised hopes that the first steps towards a desperately needed overhaul was finally about to begin. On Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell expressed doubt this would occur this year.
“I think we have an irresolvable conflict here. The Senate insists on comprehensive. The House says it won’t go to conference with the Senate on comprehensive and wants to look at step-by-step,” he told reporters. “I don’t see how you get to an outcome this year with the two bodies in such a place.”
On Wednesday, leading House conservatives confirmed McConnell’s prediction.
“I think it’s a mistake for us to have an internal battle in the Republican Party this year about immigration reform,” Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) told reporters at a gathering of conservatives. “I think when we take back the Senate in 2014, one of the first things we should do next year after we do certain economic issues, I think we should address the immigration issue.”
The GOP is hoping to gain six seats in the Senate in the upcoming mid-term elections and seize majority control. Democrats currently have a 55–45 advantage but are defending more seats, including ones in Republican-leaning states. Such an approach is typical in politics, and were the shoe on the other foot, the Democrats would presumably do the same.
America, a nation of immigrants, should do better.
The millions who came to these shores seeking a better future, many of whom have lived here for decades, conducting themselves in an exemplary manner, deserve better. Those who came here with their parents as young children, and have never known another home, don’t deserve to live in constant fear of deportation.
We urge elected officials on both sides of the aisle and in both houses of Congress to reach a fair compromise allowing immigration policy overhaul to happen this year.