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Arizona Republic to AZ Congressional Delegation: Get Behind Immigration Reform

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Today, the Arizona Republic has an important editorial calling on their Congressional delegation–notably Republican Reps. Trent Franks, Paul Gosar, Matt Salmon and David Schweikert–to support immigration reform.  Arizona’s Senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake, were leaders in the push to pass the Senate bill earlier this year, but Arizona’s Republican House members have yet to even express their support for immigration reform that contains a path to citizenship.  Read the full editorial here or below:

There was promise. There was hope. There was progress toward immigration reform.

It was something Arizona desperately needed as death and destruction marred our southern deserts, and the state’s reputation got sullied by wild rhetoric, questionable law-enforcement tactics and a bad, bad law.

Arizona rose above that.

Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake helped craft a comprehensive reform bill that moved past the cheap talk and offered real solutions. It won bipartisan support in the Senate in June, when Arizona was melting in summer’s heat.

The bill wasn’t perfect. It was a compromise. A starting point.

But the House stopped it. Dead. This opportunity to finally achieve reform was squandered.

Now, hope looks as useless as last month’s jack o’lanterns.

Republican House Speaker John Boehner insisted that a majority of the GOP House majority agree before the bill could come to a vote. So no vote, even though some said the bill could have passed with Democratic and moderate GOP support.

Imagine that. Imagine if this running sore of a problem were actually healing now. Solved. Fixed.

But Boehner let the most extreme members of his caucus doom reform. Now he says he has “no intention” of going to conference to negotiate the Senate bill.

Boehner remains captive to the radical right. These are the same reckless people who wasted precious time shutting down the government and trying to make the president look bad.

Ironic, isn’t it? They could have saved their energy. The president made himself look bad with a poorly executed launch of his health-care law.

The Republicans in the House could have spent their time on sincere efforts to achieve immigration reform. They could have done their job.

That goes double for members of Arizona’s GOP House delegation.

Arizona has been deeply wounded because of the broken immigration system. Reps. Trent Franks, Paul Gosar, Matt Salmon and David Schweikert should have worked to make sure the Senate bill was discussed in the House.

It could have been changed. It could have been improved. It should not have been ignored.

But our GOP House delegation played it safe. They focused on placating a conservative constituency rather than leading, as Flake and McCain did. The House members could have been persuasive voices helping Arizonans see the economic, law enforcement and moral reasons for moving beyond an unacceptable status quo.

Instead, hope hit a brick wall in the House.

McCain and Flake continue to work to win House support. They could use some help.

Maybe next year. Early next year, though, because once the 2014 election campaigns really begin, political courage will evaporate.

Arizona deserved better than this thin hope. Our delegation should be held accountable for making comprehensive immigration reform happen early next year.