WASHINGTON -- Backers of comprehensive immigration legislation are gearing up for a campaign to push the House to act, even as some begin openly voicing fears they're already losing the fight.
Congress' monthlong August recess could be crucial and supporters aim to exert influence in dozens of congressional districts home to Republican House members seen as open to reform.
Business and religious groups and others with ties to the GOP majority are under pressure to win over lawmakers through tailor-made campaigns from within their districts, involving ministers, local executives and other contacts. Immigration activists, labor leaders and others on the left are making plans for large-scale mobilizations such as rallies and marches to exert pressure from without.
"Here's the fact: We're not winning, so we've got to wage a campaign," said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a lead author of the Senate-passed immigration bill. "There are many members of the House that don't want to take up any bill at all, as you know. What our job is, we want to convince them to at least pass legislation, so that we can go to conference and work together."
The scenario supporters hope to avoid is what happened to President Barack Obama's health care bill in the summer of 2009, when it was savaged by irate voters at unruly town hall meetings, taking a beating it never really recovered from.
"August is a month in which either legislative proposals die, or they survive," said Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J. He said those who favor immigration legislation must be heard in August. "And if we do that, we'll be well positioned for the fall in the House. If we don't, then we run a risk."
I see no profit in making the problem worse.
A a myriad of research has indicated that Americans are correct in assuming that granting undocumented immigrants legal status would boost the economy.
The immigration reform bill would shrink the deficit by $197 billion over the next 10 years and $700 billion over the following decade, according to a report released earlier this month by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. That's less than that estimated by the American Action Forum, the conservative think tank that predicted in April that immigration reform would reduce the deficit by $2.5 trillion over the next 10 years.
Granting undocumented immigrants legal status would likely also help the nation grapple with some of its other fiscal woes. The immigration reform bill would boost the trust fund used to finance Social Security by adding more workers who would contribute payroll taxes to its coffers, according to a May analysis from the Social Security Administration.
The conclusions are slightly more mixed when it comes to how native workers would fare if immigration reform passes, but there’s evidence to suggest it could help some U.S.-born workers. An influx of immigrant workers would give a small boost to the wages of native workers overall, according to a January analysis from The Hamilton Project, though the wages of low-wage workers would likely fall slightly.
Still, it’s likely immigration reform would create more jobs, according to multiple analyses. For one, immigrants now residing the country legally are more likely to start businesses and employ more workers. In addition, legal immigrants are more likely to vie for jobs outside of the low-wage sector, cutting down on competition.
If you know that, why are you blaming illegal immigrants for the problems we are having with social security?
Cruel and Indecent
Family values are a pillar of traditional Republican discourse. But as soon as it comes time to address immigration issues, all of their emphasis on family unity goes out the window, replaced by advocacy for division.
This is the logical conclusion that follows from the KIDS Act, being developed by the House of Representatives. While this House bill would legalize the status of minors brought to the United States without papers by their parents, it would be the only measure the lower house would approve to regularize the status of anyone undocumented, unlike the Senate bill that initially aspired to benefit 11 million people.
The bill's sponsor, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, speaking in favor of the measure, stated that this is a matter of "decency and compassion."
It is strange to hear him using these words today, when the House of Representatives previously rejected the Dream Act and just recently voted in favor of cutting off all funds to the Deferred Action program, thereby exposing these youths to deportation.
This change in attitude responds to pressure for the House version of immigration reform to contain at least some legalization component. It is also a political strategy to place an unacceptable proposal on the table, exclusively legalizing a limited group of people, in hopes of provoking opposition from the Democrats, who could then be portrayed as betraying the Dreamers.
In reality, using Cantor's own words, it is cruel and indecent to think that the young Dreamers would be satisfied with a measure that protects themselves but simultaneously deports their parents.
Likewise, it is the height of hypocrisy to posture oneself as representing family integrity, while heartlessly promoting actions that divide the family home, whose human worth knows no borders.
The only aspect worth rescuing in this proposal is a strategic speculation that it might foster conciliation with the Senate measure, and that in the end the Senate's principles, which are far more just, will prevail.
For now, it is recommended to keep a close watch and be very cautious the next time the House leadership talks about decency and compassion