Last Friday, after a summer spent waiting for the House to take action on immigration reform, a slew of things happened at once: the House Gang of 7–a group which has repeatedly postponed the introduction of its long-awaited comprehensive, bipartisan immigration reform bill–finally gave up and disbanded. And (in a development that drew significantly less press) two Democratic Congressmen, Reps. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) and Filemon Vela (D-TX) introduced reform legislation that contains a path to citizenship.
While many have voiced fears that the split of the Gang of 7 sounds the death knell of immigration reform this year, our take is that what happened will free members of Congress and allow them the flexibility to take creative action. One bill containing a path to citizenship has already been introduced, and more should follow.
The Arizona Daily Star today published this editorial commending Grijalva and Vela’s CIR ASAP bill and asking that it receive the respect it deserves:
The recently introduced bill by Reps. Raúl Grijalva and Filemon Vela, co-chairs of the Congressional Border Caucus, serves as an excellent starting point to integrate the concerns of caucus members to produce legislation that takes into account our region’s environmental, economic and humanitarian needs.
The Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America’s Security and Prosperity Act of 2013 is part of the caucus’ efforts not only to keep the immigration discussion alive in Congress but also to take away some of the more onerous border-security measures included in the Senate’s immigration bill…
The new bill also differs on the path to legalization and citizenship, as well as the environmental impact of security measures.
All of this is moot, though, if Republican leadership continues to obstruct immigration reform by preventing a vote in the House. While a bipartisan bill would be ideal, expecting one soon would be unrealistic. Grijalva and Vela’s push to keep the conversation going is a good-faith effort that should be supported.
Americans deserve concrete action like that instead of empty words from those who say they represent the people, but are treating them like children. Lawmakers are hiding the options available to address problems and trying to make their constituents take their own ideological medicines that heal nothing.
If the House of Representatives boasts about representing Americans and their opinions, then it must respect them by allowing a clean vote on the Senate-approved reform. Not doing so would show a hypocritical attitude—and demonstrate fear of the will of the majority.