Speaker John Boehner should allow the U.S. House of Representatives to take up and vote on comprehensive immigration reform. Thus far the speaker has not allowed any bills to come to the floor. Many capital hall observers believe a bill would pass with bipartisan support if Boehner brought it to the floor. Rep. John Lewis from Georgia, a hero of the civil rights movement, in a recent speech had this to say:
History will not be kind to us as a people and as a nation unless we do what is right, what is fair and what is just. We cannot wait. We cannot be patient. … Please, Mr. Speaker, bring the bill to the floor.
Congress didn’t see fit to tackle the immigration issue last year. But Democrats are working hard to keep immigration reform in the headlines — and generate public pressure — in hopes that GOP leaders will take up the needed legislation early this year. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who is a strong proponent of reform, stated:
For us, it is inevitable that we will pass comprehensive immigration reform. For some, it is inconceivable, and they will stand in the way. We just have to shorten the time between the inevitable to us and the inconceivable to them.
While speaker Boehner has said all year that he supports immigration reform, he hasn’t prioritized it in the face of strong opposition from the Tea Party. The Speaker has refused to consider a comprehensive reform bill passed by the Senate with bipartisan support in June. Neither have a series of Republican bills passed by the House Judiciary Committee during the summer found their way to the floor. The Democrats are pushing legislation, unveiled in October, that would create a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants. The legislation would also require the Obama administration to come up with a more effective border security plan, which is favored by Republicans.
The bill has more than 190 co-sponsors, with dozens of additional lawmakers on both sides of the aisle expected to support it if it comes up for a vote. Rep. Xavier Becerra (Calif.), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus observed:
We have more than 218 members of the House who have publicly declared they are for comprehensive immigration reform. We will get this done.
I believe that the time has come for Congress to take up and pass meaningful immigration reform. If you agree, take the time to let your U.S. House members hear from you. There can be no legitimate excuse for them not to deal with this issue. Delay can only cause more problems and continue with the huge expenses that are currently being borne by taxpayers due to government inaction.
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