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Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), speaking to Greg Sargent of the Washington Post today, said, “We have very few days available on the floor in the House, so I don’t think we’re going to be able to do it this year… I’m hopeful that we can get to it early next year. But I am keenly aware that next year, you start running into the election cycle. If we cannot get it done by early next year, then it’s clearly dead. It flatlines.”
Following is a response from Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart is supposed to be one of the leaders in the House GOP on reform. Yet, we’ve yet to see a bill, a proposal, a plan or a timeline from him or the House leadership. Now he tells us that reform is probably dead for this year. Why? So few days in the calendar.
Give us a break. It’s been five months since the Senate passed a bill with strong bipartisan support. House GOP reformers talk a good game, but the only action we see is them sweet talking and slow walking. If true, this decision is a kick in the teeth to the immigrant communities who are counting on Congress to act this year and are facing 1,100 deportations every day.
There’s an existing majority in the House that would vote for reform right now. The only thing blocking it is the House GOP leadership. We expect reformers like Diaz-Balart to produce concrete proposals, not weak excuses for more delays and inaction.
And as for reform being dead, let’s be clear: the cause of immigration reform with a path to citizenship will never die. It will get stronger until it is fully enacted and implemented. It’s not immigration reform that’s facing death, it’s the GOP. After the shutdown, the public called for pragmatic governance. The House GOP response? More of the same political gamesmanship and reckless pandering to the Tea Party. After the recent elections, the public called for sensible leadership, not dog whistle demagoguery. The GOP House response? Let’s avoid doing our jobs and run out the clock.
The fact remains that the only immigration vote that’s taken place on the House floor has been on a Rep. Steve King (R-IA) amendment to deport DREAMers and other members of American families. That’s a horrible record for the House GOP, and one they should be running from, not running on.
We in the immigration reform movement are going to fight like hell to make reform happen, starting with House floor action this year. It would be nice if our so-called champions in the House GOP would do the same.