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Opinion, Santa Monica, Columnist, Government

Little Time Left For Immigration Changes

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist
Santa Monica Mirror Archives
Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Posted Nov. 3, 2013, 8:00 am

Tom Elias / Mirror Columnist

When the history of this fall’s partial government shutdown and debt limit battle is written, it may well list as one prime victim the pathway to citizenship long sought by undocumented immigrants.

That’s because despite President Obama’s loud talk about pressing forward with his agenda on changes to the nation’s immigration rules, time grows short.

Even if there were many months before the 2014 election season, the fate of immigration changes giving unauthorized immigrants some hope of eventually becoming citizens and improving the legal status of young immigrants often called “Dreamers” would be uncertain.

That’s because Republican leaders in the House of Representatives have been reluctant for many months even to allow a vote on the compromise comprehensive immigration bill passed by the Senate last June, one that would greatly beef up border security at the same time it eases life and creates new hopes for the undocumented.

“We’re committed to moving forward on step-by-step comprehensive reforms,” a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner said in an oxymoron of an email.

But Republicans have not begun to act on even one bill dealing with any substantial aspect of immigration since the Senate passed its proposal and it moved to the House, where it has been trapped in committee ever since. The only one discussed in detail may be filed by San Diego County’s Darrell Issa, who says he wants to offer current unauthorized immigrants six years of legal residency – but no path to citizenship.

Conservative Republicans have threatened to oust Boehner as speaker if he allows a floor vote on the Senate measure. They know it would likely pass in its present form with votes from almost all 201 Democrats in the House and a few Republicans acting out of fear that if they voted “no,” their reelections could be threatened by the rising number of Latinos in their home districts.

If the Senate bill never gets a floor vote, those GOP Congress members can say they favored the pathway to citizenship many conservatives describe as “amnesty” when they run next fall, even if they never voted for it. A classic example might be Jeff Denham, whose Modesto-centered district now is more than 42 percent Hispanic. Denham days ago became the lone Republican to sign onto the House Democratic version of the Senate’s bill.

Long before Boehner allowed the floor vote where Democrats and some Republicans ended the fall government shutdown and the threat of national default, GOP back-benchers warned they would fire him if he did anything like that with immigration. The Tea Party-oriented far right faction that actually controls the House Republican Caucus let him allow one floor vote; he could be an ex-Speaker and top lieutenant Eric Cantor an ex-majority leader if they do it on this issue.

So it’s unrealistic to expect any wide-ranging House action this fall, even if some in Congress create smaller bills to deal with specific immigration questions.

But next year will bring an election season, often a time of paralysis because most politicians fear making controversial votes that might remain fresh in voters’ memory at ballot time.

It would take passage of five or six specific-issue bills by the House to generate a House-Senate conference committee that might craft something comprehensible by combining a House mishmash with the Senate bill. Not likely to happen.

Which means it is still unclear what the majority of House Republicans have in mind for the 11 million undocumented immigrants now living in this country, about one-fourth of them in California.

It is clear, though, that only about two months remain this year, a time that will be filled with congressional recesses for holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. That leaves precious little time for action, in combination with a House majority that’s demonstrated it is reluctant to move at all.

So it's most likely the outcome of this year’s long-running immigration debate will be nothing. Don't expect anything much next year, either. Which will probably push the entire issue over into 2015, when Congress might have a substantially different makeup, especially if Latino voters go to the polls to vent their frustration over all this.

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Nov. 3, 2013, 10:33:50 am

Dave Francis said...

Looking at the polls, especially Rasmussen polls it’s likely that many of the politicians who run this country will be searching for a job elsewhere, seeing they went against the majority of Americans in pressing for an Immigration Reform package, sanctioned by the Senate. Do not need any fortune teller’s crystal ball, to see which way this controversial issue is blowing? Many involved will be terminated from Congress, unless the Democrats can use the illegal vote of non-citizens as they did in the presidential election. Illustrating this is Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina disturbing drop in popularity. Sen. Grahams reputation plummets after year-long press for amnesty In a new poll from Winthrop University finds that Republican Sen. Grahams esteem is decaying in his home state plummeting after co-authoring legislation that would grant amnesty to 11 million illegal aliens and double annual legal immigration flows. According to the poll, only 45% of GOP voters of those who have supported the job that Graham have been doing. Last February, after the Gang of Eight had announced their principles for immigration reform, but before the bill was drafted, Graham approval rating among GOP voters was 72%. His approval rating was 57.5% in April just before the Senate began debate on Grahams amnesty bill, S.744. You have to wonder whose next to “bite the bullet” I see new faces arising especially in the ranks of the GOP. I don’t think anybody is safe, except for the growing numbers of TEA PARTY upper echelon of Legislators, who are rearing up against the gangsters in both parties who are adjoining on the counterfeit Immigration Reform proposal With the numbers of illegal aliens involved is subsequently cannot claim its not an AMNESTY in the populace mind. No population numbers are truly available from this ailing government, as it’s unknown how many foreigners eluded the Census counter. But it must be over 25 million or more according to grassroots organizations. The whole thing stinks of conspiracy, when millions of American jobless will be targeted by scrupulous weasels in the Special Interests, so they can legally obtain another 30 million under the new Senate bill. This AMNESTY is a market for cheap labor, while for the Lib-Democrats blocks of votes. According to what I have read that under the Obama administration exclusive non-deportation policy, that 99.5 percent of illegal aliens have been granted permission to stay, GRASS ROOT CONSERVATIVE ORGANIZATIONS, INCLUDING THE EVER GROWING MEMBERS OF THE TEA PARTY AND SILENT MAJORITY WILL BE SCRUTINIZING EACH POLITICIAN WHO VOTES FOR ANYTHING AS THE STOMACH CHURNING SENATE BILL. NOTHING WILL ESCAPE THE ANALYZING EYE OF THE WATCHERS, AND WILL BE OUTED AT THEIR NEXT ELECTION? There is an assured, easy way to disunite the job market from the thousands of illegal aliens arriving here daily. The TEA PARTY who believes in American Sovereignty and the “Rule of Law” demand for—ALL THE PEOPLE—ALL THE CITIZENS—(Lawful Residence have a green ID card) a bio-metric Social Security ID card, that will cut the illegal foreign workers incoming to a seeping ooze; stopping election fraud by non-citizens and halt criminals stealing credit, welfare and other citizen entitlements. Its obvious to me that Obama’s thrall have exceeded the requirements of the law, by lifting restrictions on the criminal undocumented, allowing them to apply for Food Stamps. A programmed digitized SS card would allow the holder to slide a your card through a machine, just the same way you slide a credit card through, also denying illegal alien parents from appropriating billions of dollars annually in child credits. It really is time to re-evaluate the Citizenship Law, which an illegal alien parent can claim for an unborn child, once inside the jurisdiction of the United States. This has been reassessed in the majority of industrialized nations, including Canada: After February 15, 1977: It states that Canadian citizenship is not granted to a child born in Canada if, at the time of his/her birth, neither of his/her parents was a Canadian citizen or Canadian permanent resident and either parent. Crazy U.S. citizenship laws, which were for the descendants of slaves, have been fabricated include non-citizens; a law financially abused. It has been a troubling issue for years that has still to be resolved by the high court. This should certainly be determined in any immigration reform, mainly because a child of illegal alien parents and foreign visitors who “OVERSTAY” their expired visa or just cross borders, supplementing income with major cash payments and public assistance. These extra dollars would go a long way in caring for our incapacitated, homeless and the veterans that are being denied services. This citizen digital document could not be counterfeited, even if stolen nefarious reasons? Your picture, your thumb-print and even an iris scan would distinguish you from everybody else.

Nov. 3, 2013, 11:25:59 am

Joe Guzzardi said...

With 20 million Americans unemployed, more part-time than full time jobs being created, and 50 percent of recent college grads unable to find a job that justifies the small fortune and lasting debt they incurred to get their diploma, Elias wants action on passing legislation that would legalize America's 11 million illegal immigrant and give them work permits. This is the kind of crazy stuff that amnesty advocates like Elias promote even though it plainly hurts American workers

Nov. 3, 2013, 2:13:48 pm

Joe Guzzardi said...

P.S. Amnesty would be most hurtful to Hispanic and Black Americans whose U-6 unemployment rates are 30 percent or higher. Maybe U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham (Modesto) should have considered that before signing the Democrsts bill, H.R. 15. Elias should know---but apparently does not---that amnesty hurts society's most vulnerable.

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