For many months, it has been clear that Republicans have no intention to pass immigration reform legislation. Speaker Boehner has claimed both that Republicans distrust Obama too much to pass a bill and that Obama acting on his own to protect immigrants is improper. What’s left, then? The status quo, where hardworking immigrants continue to face deportation and families continue to be separated.
At yesterday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing, provocatively titled “President Obama’s Executive Overreach on Immigration,” this commitment to inaction was once again on display, as Republican members of Congress and their witnesses talked about the tyranny of Obama’s action and whether he flipped-flopped about his authority to do it — but not once ever talked about what should be done instead.
The GOP also completely ignored the real and practical benefits of Obama’s executive action: like the Senate immigration bill, it will register and identify people who are already here and allow them to work legally only if they pass a background check. Plus more funding will go to the border as well. Isn’t that what Republicans are always saying they want?
All that was pointed out by Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), who spoke at a press conference before the hearing and called out Republicans’ objections. Read an excerpt of his comments or watch the video (starts at 2:50) below:
How do you argue against 5 million people that are undocumented coming and registering with the government, going through an exhaustive background check, and only after they’ve gone through that background check and shown that they’ve got a clean bill of health, will you give them a work permit? To work, so that they can take care of their families.
Then you go and you put those resources into enforcement, which is what they always say they want. They can’t argue against that.
They’ll pay taxes! And get on the books, on the right side of the law. How do you argue against that?
You’re always calling them criminals. Tell you what, I got 5 million people, ready to go through a background check. Because if you’re right, none of them will ever get Obama’s work permit. But you know that you’re wrong. That the vast majority of them are hardworking people who contribute to our economy and our nation and what to raise their children with some harmony and peace that the federal government can give them. That’s what Barack Obama has done.