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Memo to House Leadership on Immigration: “Talk is Cheap”

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Goodlatte, House Leaders Talk Up Reform, but Where’s their Legislative Proposal? When is the Vote?

For months now House leaders have been using similar talking points and sound bites when talking about immigration reform.  However, they continue to fall short when it comes to actually putting their words into action.

Case and point, House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA).  Yesterday, at House Republican Conference event celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, Goodlatte discussed more of the same vague platitudes about DREAMers and the need to address the 11 million, saying “we are taking what we call a step-by-step approach” and “we want to do immigration reform right.”

Sound familiar?  That’s because we’ve heard it before.  House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) have all been making the same case about the vague need to address the 11 million but fail to go into any specifics or translate their talking points into real legislative policy.

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:

Talk is cheap.  You can’t fix a broken immigration system with press conferences and trial balloons.  Either come to the table with a proposal in writing or get blamed for blocking the best chance for immigration reform in decades.  The fact is that there’s an existing majority in the House that would pass immigration reform with citizenship if it were brought for a vote today, but to date, it’s become clear that Boehner and House leadership would rather talk about wanting to pass reform than actually doing it.  Sorry, but that just won’t cut it.  Until we see an actual proposal on the table and Boehner schedules the vote, we’re not buying it.  And any proposal will be measured by our yardsticks: the legalization proposal needs to be immediate and inclusive, and the path to citizenship, whatever the policy architecture, needs to be achievable and clear.