Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Comprehensive Immigration Reform’s Second Wind

I was encouraged to learn this week that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is introducing legislation to combine the comprehensive bill that passed the Senate Judiciary Committee in May with a bipartisan border-security bill from the House Homeland Security Committee. Both bills received bipartisan support but not enough support from the GOP leadership to bring it to the House floor for a vote. To answer this bureaucratic stalling, Pelosi has announced her strategy to bring comprehensive immigration reform back into the spotlight with her mash-up of the year’s most well-supported, bipartisan attempts at immigration reform.

Whether or not her bill will win any favors with the GOP leadership is dubious – to be honest, I don’t think it was really her end goal. I think her goal is much more strategic. Immigration reform is such a heated debate, it’s unlikely any singular proposed bill will win over the GOP leadership at this time and I trust she and her aides recognize that. It is more likely that her strategy is to smoke out the GOP leadership. From this point, the GOP can either reveal themselves as unwilling to act on immigration reform by continuing to keep all immigration reform bills off the floor or they can call one of these bills to a vote. Either way, the conversation on reform can shift to one of action or inaction by the GOP.

The most immediate benefit of her strategy is that it will renew news coverage for immigration reform. Pelosi's bill will debut (tentatively) on Oct.5th, which is now National Day of Action. On this day, rallies and marches for immigration reform will take place nationwide – in over 40 U.S. cities – to demand comprehensive immigration reform.The need for comprehensive immigration reform is real. Families across the nation are suffering and have suffered due to politics and inaction by our representatives.With the spotlight back on immigration reform, it is Pelosi’s hope, and mine as well, that Congress will take action and pass something comprehensive reform. The good news is that the GOP has promised to make immigration reform a priority. But until something other than border patrol measures gets to the House floor for a vote, I'd be cautious to believe them.

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