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Vitter-Flake Bill Tries To Turn Trump Rhetoric Into Law

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Trump Effect Will Be on Full Display at Senate Judiciary Markup Tomorrow 

Republicans in Congress are working hard to turn Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric into law.

Last month, House Republicans passed a version of Trump’s vision in a party line vote, and tomorrow Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is poised to start the same process in that chamber with a mark-up of the Vitter-Flake bill.

Senator David Vitter (R-LA), himself something of an expert in prosecutorial discretion, is vehemently opposed to extending any sort of a break to immigrants.  And Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ), considered a strong advocate of comprehensive immigration reform, is once again turning his back on a comprehensive solution in favor of sound bite policies that will only make the broken system worse.

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice: “What a difference control of the Senate makes.  When Democrats were in charge, the Senate forged a bipartisan consensus on a comprehensive immigration solution this country could be proud of.  We were closer than ever to realizing the vision of one coherent, national immigration policy that dealt rationally with smart enforcement, legal immigration reforms and a practical, humane approach to the 11 million undocumented immigrants settled in America.  The goal: to modernize our outdated immigration policies in order to transform a chaotic and dysfunctional system into a controlled and orderly one.  Unfortunately, in 2014 House Republican leaders—afraid of the Steve King wing of the GOP—refused to pass a similar bill with all Democrats and some Republicans.  Instead, they retreated to their corner and cowered, refusing to bring the bill up for a vote.

“Now, with Trump leading the polls, Republicans want to pass piecemeal enforcement-only legislation that scapegoats entire communities, bullies state and local law enforcement and does nothing to address the status of the 11 million people who call this country home.  It’s time for Democrats stay united and for Republicans get with the program: the only way to effectively deal with a symptom of the broken system is to comprehensively fix the broken system.

“Not only is this bad policy for the country, it’s bad politics for the GOP.  You see, voters get offended when you call members of their families criminals.  The thing is, it doesn’t have to be this way.  Polling shows that a comprehensive solution is not only supported by Latino voters and the general electorate, but a majority of Republicans.  Republicans could solve a policy and a political problem by working with Democrats and passing comprehensive immigration reform.  Instead, they’ve chosen the smaller-minded vision of Trump—which will likely mean a smaller number of votes in 2016.”