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Immigration Reform Still on a Front Burner, But What Exactly is Cooking?

October 15, 2013
By Nancy Thorner

[First published at Illinois Review on Oct. 14, 2013]In his weekly Saturday radio address, President Obama told the American people that the government shutdown needed to end so Congress could work on passing comprehensive immigration reform.

customs documents

[First published at Illinois Review on Oct. 14, 2013]

In his weekly Saturday radio address, President Obama told the American people that the government shutdown needed to end so Congress could work on passing comprehensive immigration reform.

Not knowing any better, I might believe that Obama was only kidding! In tandem Obamacare and comprehensive immigration reform, if passed, would represent financial boondoggles with ramifications and consequences for future generations of Americans that are impossible to fully comprehend, but destructive they will be in so many ways.

But how is the House's immigration bill stacking up in this political contentious month of October which is fast slipping away?  After more than four years of secretive talks, the bipartisan House committee, although set to release its proposal a few months ago, remains somewhat hesitant that it will be swatted down by House conservatives who want an opportunity to first vote on measures to strengthen border security.  Republican establishment House members have every right to be concerned if conservatives House member are pushed aside and told to back off.

As it now stands the bipartisan House bill is reported to include a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, but one taking at least two years longer and more arduous than the one in the Senate-passed plan. It is quite telling that the bipartisan House proposal has won the praise of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Might there be good reason why Nancy Pelosi is so enamored with the bipartisan proposal plan?  House Members of the bi-partisan House group on immigration reform include:  Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.); Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL); Rep. Zoe Logren (D-Calif.); John Yamuth (D-Kentucky); and lone Republican, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida.  Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) dropped out in June over a health care dispute, and Texas Republicans Reps. John Carte and Sam Johnson said that they had "reached a tipping point" in the talks and could no longer continue working on a "broad approach to a rewrite of the nation's immigration laws.

What might we anticipate from Republican House Speaker John Boehner in how he might deal with House establishment members on immigration reform, especially if Boehner is pressured to deal with reform before the end of this month or at least before the year's end? Will Boehner remain firm on the need for border security before all else, or will he  be influenced by Paul Ryan in the House and Mitch McConnell and others in the Senate who are pushing for what could only be a disaster in the making -- comprehensive immigration reform.

During a news conference back in April Speaker Boehner indicated that he would not allow a floor vote on any immigration bill that didn't have the support of a majority of his Republican majority.  This seemed to rule out the Senate bill.  Also related by Boehner was that the House bill would be "grounded" in a guarantee of increased border security.

Troubling is a recent report revealing that House Chairman Bob Goodlatte, Chairman Paul Ryan, Congressman Luis Gutierrez, and Majority Leader Eric Cantor are working to advance proposals to open citizenship benefits to the majority of those here illegally, in combination with proposals to expand visa programs. 

Representatives Goodlatte, Ryan and Cantor aren't the only Republicans pushing amnesty in the House.  Rep. Steve Southerland of Florida said this about immigration: "We have to address it  It's a moral issue" while House GOP conference chairwoman, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodger of Washington state thinks immigration should be a top priority for House Republicans this year and that a window exists between now and the end of the year to accomplish it.

USCIS (U.S. Immigration Citizenship and Immigration Services) president, Kenneth Palinkas, ripped the House leaders noted above on Thursday, October 10, for following the same pathway in pushing amnesty that the Senate "Gang of Eight" members did with proposals to legalize the status of America's at least 22 million illegal immigrants.   Furthermore. Palinkas related how the Obama administration had placed obstacles and roadblocks in front of adjudication officers who were only attempting to protect this nation's security and the American taxpayer.  Mr. Palinkas, in attempted to document these abuses on more than one occasion with the authors of the Schumer-Rubio-Corker-Hoeven (S.744), was summarily ignored.

In no uncertain terms  Kenneth Palinkas expressed these concerns to Republican House leaders Goodlatte, Ryan, and Cantor: 

Why are plans being pursued prior to first reforming the USCIS where wide spread abuse exists, before the USCS is given the responsibility of reviewing the tens of millions of green cards, temporary visas and citizenship applications?

  • Concerning Eric Cantor's GOP DREAM Act, tentatively called the KIDS act, it could lead to a slippery slope if successfully argued in the future to include extending birthright citizenship to foreign citizens of other countries
  • Most importantly, why were USCIS agents excluded from all discussions about immigration reform with House leaders, as they were from Senate conversations? 
  • Words of caution are in order for how the House might be dealing in October with its immigration reform plan.  Concern exists that any proposed groupings of "step-by-step" House immigration proposals may be used as a tool by House establishment leaders to get to a conference committee.  At this point the House measures would be combined with the Senate bill, sent to the president for his signature, leading to the start of illegal immigrants getting amnesty in its aftermath.

Phyllis Schlafly explains these concern in the following way in her August 2013, The Phyllis Schlafly Report, Vol. 74, No. 1:

The Gang of Eight pro-amnesty Senators are trying to con the House of Representatives into passing parts of an anti-American amnesty bill so they can get a Chuck Schumer-dominated conference committee and bamboozle Representatives into going along with their sellout plans.  The few pro-amnesty Republican Senators had Marco Rubio as the salesman for the unpopular amnesty bill, and the few pro-amnesty Republicans in the House have Paul Ryan to play the same un-Republican role. 

In the same report Schlafly enumerates these dangerous and costly provisions in the Senate's Gang of Eight bill that are impossible to itemize, but they do speak of foolishness if not challenged by Republicans:

1. Rules are loosened for asylum seekers by reducing the application to be an asylum seeker from the current one-year deadline to as many years as the immigrant wants.  It also allows the U.S. Attorney General to pay the asylum seekers' legal fees. Have we so soon forgotten how those welcomed as asylum seekers turned out to be terrorists?

2. To help the immigrants transition to American life and apply for government benefits, duties are outsourced to community organizers and activists paid by taxpayers.  This will ensure the loading of new entrants permanently into the Democratic Party. 

3. The amnesty bill even assigns some of these so-called non-profit left wing community groups the task of rewriting provisions for U.S. citizenship.   

This question needs to be asked and answered honestly.  Why are companies laying off thousands then demanding immigration reform, when at the same time corporate officers are seeking higher numbers of immigrants, both low-skill and high-skill?  An  article written by Byron York and published in the Washington Examiner on September 11, is worth reading.

Before anything else is going to work, people must have confidence that the border is secure to prevent another wave of illegal immigrants who believe that they too will be granted the same "courtesy" of amnesty in the future.

Immigration reform, as proposed by the Senate Gang of Eight and now being pushed by some in the House, threatens this nation's economy, job markets and national security.

Can we afford to allow Congress to pass what is "pretend" immigration reform?   The push for immigration reform must be stopped from happening in the House of Representatives.  According to Article 1, Section 7 of the U.S. Constitution, the House is given the sole power to originate all bills for raising revenue under what is know as the Origination CauseThe Gang's amnesty bill oversteps and includes a provision to raise some revenue, making it possible for the House to reject the Senate bill in what is called a "blue slip" procedure.

You owe it to your family and to your fellow countrymen to contact your own representative and House leaders Speaker John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Bob Goodlatte, and Paul Ryan, insisting that in light of the direction immigration reform seems to be taking in the House with its close proximity to the Senate's Gang of Eight proposal, immigration reform must die in the House.  The immigration reform legislation as being formulated is a destructive piece of legislation that will destroy this nation.

Isn't it time that we put the American people and jobs first?  We need to help Americans find jobs, not replace them under the guise of immigration reform.

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