Congress “Sleeping On” Immigration Reform

Immigration Reform

 This past June, the Senate passed on landmark bill that would bolster border security, help business obtain needed workers and provide an earned pathway to U.S. citizenship for up to 11 million undocumented immigrants.

What about the House of Representatives?  According to U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue, a dependable and strong ally of Republicans, said that he remains confident that Speaker John Boehner’s will push to enact comprehensive immigration reform. Donahue said “We’re not going away,” whose business group helped craft the Senate bill along with organized labor.  He further added “We’re just getting warmed up.”

Well, Speaker John Boehner has refused to negotiate with the Senate on its bipartisan bill.  But Mr. Donohue says he’s not worried.  Thus far, the House has passed only a handful of very focused bills, most dealing with enforcement but none providing a pathway to U.S. citizenship for the many undocumented immigrants.  Donohue said he supports Boehner’s decision to take these little and limited steps to fix the nation’s broken immigration system.  He continues to insist that “… it will get done.” This sentiment was echoed religious and law enforcement leaders who attended the same news conference.  In fact, Donohue promised to help Boehner get the votes to pass a series of bills to provide comprehensive reform, including a pathway to citizenship.

Mr. Donohue said effective immigration reform legislation would be good for business, labor and the country, and he believes final congressional approval will happen in the first half of next year.

I love Mr. Donohue’s optimism but Speaker Boehner has been recently criticized for saying that the House will not negotiate with the Senate to resolve differences between the Senate bill and what the House ends up passing.  Boehner has said “We have made it clear that we are going to move on a common sense, step-by-step approach.” He further added “We have no intention of ever going to conference on the Senate bill.”

I do not share that Mr. Donohue’s optimism but he is insistent that Congress will do what needs to be done to overhaul the U.S. immigration system.

“We will get there,” he said. “It doesn’t matter to me what music they play for the dance.”

But the problem continues to be the Republicans’ opposition to the Senate’s bill inclusion of the pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, which they look at as a form of amnesty.

Donohue continues to remain confident that Congress will enact a comprehensive immigration bill largely because polls show more than 70 percent of Americans support it passage of such a law.

The head of the National Association of Manufacturers, Jay Timmons, joined Donohue at the news conference believing that something will be done, saying that “We’re all optimistic up here.”

This past October, more than 600 conservative leaders from across the country went to Washington to urge lawmakers to move forward on immigration reform.