Right now, Washington is consumed with the shutdown of the federal government — and the intransigence of the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party. Even while DC is gridlocked, immigration keeps moving. Today, House Democrats are introducing their immigration reform bill. It’s legislation that includes bipartisan policies on the path to citizenship and border issues.
We keep hearing that there are votes in the House to pass what’s called a “clean” continuing resolution, which will end the shutdown. Just as we compiled votes of Republican House members who support citizenship, there are tallies of GOP Representatives who have openly supported a “clean CR.” There are enough Republicans to end the shutdown, and we know the votes exist to pass immigration reform legislation with a path to citizenship in the House.
We both share the same challenge: getting a vote.
There are differences between the two issues, too. Tea Partiers are the force behind the shutdown of the government over Obamacare. There’s no such similar force behind the opposition to immigration reform. When we went to a Tea Party rally in Richmond last month, all the vehemence was against Obamacare–virtually none was against immigration reform. With us, we are the movement. We are unrelenting. We continue to grow, build strength — and add voters.
Yesterday, at the Congressional Hispanic Conference Institute’s briefing on immigration, Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY) made an astute observation of which many in the media and the GOP seem unaware:
The lawmakers said the pro comprehensive immigration reform groups have a leg up on their opponents.
“There’s virtually nobody organized against comprehensive immigration reform,” said Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky. “There is no money on the other side of the issue. There is nobody out there ready to spend $100 million against this.”
That’s right. There isn’t. On the other hand, our side has a broad, bipartisan coalition that is putting people and money into passing reform.
So, the House GOP leaders are going to have to make a calculation soon. Do they let Steve King run their immigration agenda — and drive the GOP off the demographic cliff? Or, do they let the House vote on a path to citizenship? Legislation that will be introduced today creates that pathway — and it’s similar to legislation that passed in the Senate with strong bipartisan support.
Doesn’t seem like much of a choice for rational people.