Wednesday, September 04, 2013

As the Need for Immigration Reform Grows, Congress Grows Less Likely to Act

[Note: Crooks and Liars will be hosting a Google Hangout on Thursday discussing immigration reform on live video with a special panel of experts, including Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America's Voice; Juanita Molina, Executive Director, Border Action Network and Julieta Garibay from United We DREAM, and C&L's own David Neiwert, author of And Hell Followed With Her: Crossing the Dark Side of the American Border. Be sure to tune in at 10 am PDT!]

The WaPo's Ed O'Keefe has an excellent piece looking at the real-world consequences of Congress's mishandling of immigration reform so far, from the point of view of people who actually live along the border:
They say that lawmakers should instead consider the economic benefits of legal immigration. About 20 percent of the $500 billion traded annually between the United States and Mexico passes through ports of entry along this part of the border, and locals say the numbers would climb dramatically if trucks carrying goods could cross faster.
More than 100,000 jobs in the region rely on the lawful movement of people, goods and services between the two countries, and officials predict that even more business and jobs would be created if Congress made it easier for guest workers to cross, or if illegal immigrants could come out of the shadows.

“It would seem to me that the key to immigration reform is providing some type of work visas to shuffle out those who are just here to work and many times want to go home,” Wiles said. “They want to come, work, support their families and eventually go home.”
Yet the cold reality is that the Tea Party faction controls Congress, and as long as that's the case, there will be no immigration reform bill to emerge from the black hole of negativity it has become.

The public agrees. According to Rasmussen, only 28 of the American public thinks immigration-reform passage is likely this year -- even though a substantial majority favor it.
Most voters still want the emphasis on border control, and with this in mind, fewer than ever think Congress is likely to pass immigration reform this year.

Fifty-three percent (53%) of Likely U.S. Voters favor a reform plan that gives legal status to many of those now here illegally as long as the border is really secured to prevent future immigration. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 30% are opposed to this plan even with the guarantee of stricter border control. Seventeen percent (17%) are undecided.
As Rep. Pete Gallego observes in the WaPo piece, this doesn't say anything very flattering about the anti-democratic forces that are overwhelming our political process:
“If immigration reform doesn’t happen, that doesn’t say good things about our democracy, that everybody wants it but Congress couldn’t pass it,” Gallego said during a recent dinner meeting with constituents.
It does, however, underscore the need to get the House out of the hands of the Tea Party.

Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.

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