Nothing points out the rifts in the Republican Party better than the Immigration legislation that Congress is trying to pass. Republicans said that they would need the Hispanic/Latino vote in order to elect a GOP President in 2016. They lead us to believe that they wanted to woo the Hispanic/Latino vote, and yet it seems obvious that Republicans cannot agree that they want to pass a set of laws that will help them pursue this course. The bill in the Senate was drafted by a bi-partisan group of eight people. It does not make it easy for illegal immigrants to become citizens of the United States. There is a lengthy thirteen year process described in the bill. The Senate bill also adds border security along our border with Mexico by adding 700 miles of fencing and something like 20,000 more border guards. The Republicans in the House say that none of this enough. They want assurances that the border is impenetrable at least 90% of the time. They really don’t want to give illegal immigrants any path to citizenship. They say that even a path that takes thirteen years represents amnesty which they cannot accept.
It is unclear how they think any of their harsh approach to issues of illegal immigration will win them any votes at all from people who walked across the border between Mexico and North America, or arrived here on a visa and stayed although their visa had expired; or any votes from people who were brought into the country as undocumented workers to work in the households, gardens, or fields of American bosses, and were never sent back to their country of origin. It is equally unclear how it will gain them any votes from Hispanic/Latinos who are here legally, but sympathetic to the plight of illegal immigrants.
No one (well almost no one) believes that we can get border security anywhere near the 90 – 100% range. This makes it clear to most Americans that Republicans have no intention of assisting illegal immigrants in America. They are merely playing some kind of cruel political game to create the illusion that they might some day pass laws which take a sensible and realistic view about what will happen to 11 million illegal immigrants in America, given that they cannot all be sent home.
What will stop us from having this same problem again in a decade, they say. However they have no more idea than you or I where things will stand in a decade. By that time the Mexican economy may be stronger than the American economy. Mexico has already shown signs of a strengthening economy. As for people arriving from the Caribbean or Pacific island nations to work on our farms and for our wealthy families, and in low paying American jobs; this current bill does nothing to block illegal immigration from these areas beyond what safeguards are already in place. There was supposed to be some kind of electronic identification program connected with this issue, but I have not heard about this system lately. Perhaps it was not challenged by anyone and is still a part of the bill.
It seems pretty obvious to most of us that the fact that Republicans insist on almost 100% border security (which everyone else contends is virtually impossible and which is certainly a very inefficient use of tax payer monies) and from the fact that they object to even a lengthy and demanding path to citizenship, that the GOP never had more than a momentary whim to pass an immigration bill. They have wasted everyone’s time and broken a lot of hearts over the insincere promises they made about their willingness to pass such a bill. The House Republicans have once again led Americans down a scenic garden path that leads nowhere. The House should pass the Senate Immigration Bill which sounds quite adequate to answer most concerns, and we should elect Democrats in 2014.