Immigration Reform Stalls in the House

Print Share on LinkedIn More

Immigration art

May 13, 2013; CBS News


One thing that’s certain after the House GOP meeting last Wednesday is that immigration reform isn’t going to happen anytime soon. Republican representatives convened to discuss how to proceed after the Senate passed its comprehensive immigration reform bill, which includes provisions for what Senator McCain described as “the most militarized border since the fall of the Berlin Wall,” stringent law enforcement measures, and a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

House Republicans are well aware that their party mandarins want them to act in short order and produce immigration legislation, but they are not to be rushed. The priorities of national Republicans and representatives are simply different. Party leaders fear losing the Latino vote in 2016 and beyond, while House members fear losing the conservative White vote in upcoming primaries. (Very few House members have sizeable numbers of Latino voters to worry about. On average, only 10 percent of voters in Republican districts are Latino.)

Any steps taken will be after the August recess, and they will be small. The inclination is toward tackling immigration reform piecemeal, starting with border security, interior enforcement, visas for high-skilled workers, and an agricultural guest worker program. But a path to citizenship, a crucial component of any comprehensive immigration reform bill, is a non-starter for most House members, being tantamount to amnesty.

Some Republicans have suggested an alternative path that leads to “legalization,” not citizenship. But isn’t this just semantics? The Senate bill would legalize the status of undocumented immigrants and, after 13 years or so, allow them to naturalize. The House could pass a bill that “only” provides legal status, but under the current system, immigrants could eventually get green cards and in time, citizenship. The process might be tougher and longer, but it nonetheless ends the same…unless formerly undocumented immigrants are banned from ever becoming citizens.

In the meantime, others like House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte are open to providing a path to citizenship for one group of unauthorized immigrants: those who were brought into the country as children. Cantor and Goodlatte are drafting their own version of the DREAM Act, which passed in the House but failed in the Senate in December of 2010.

Immigration reform might still happen. But not any time soon, and not in a fashion as comprehensive as some of us would like.—Erwin de Leon

  • LostNTime

    We call this stonewalling where I originally came from and it is nothing different to what the immigration processing departments have been doing for decades.

    When you first put your application in with in weeks your application is reviewed and you are then sent a letter congratulating you that you are eligible and have legal path for a green card; such as for example son or daughter of an American citizen.

    Then the stonewalling starts; the letter will go on to say ‘How Ever’ you will have to wait for a visa to be available to you as they have run out of numbers to issue (like you can run out of a numerical number) the letter will go on to say ‘you may have to wait many years there is no way of telling how long so do not make any plans.

    Meanwhile you sit there in the dark staring at a mailbox 5 years goes by and nothing, 8 years goes by nothing so you make a phone call to the INS where you will generally receive a very rude unsympathetic person at other end … So you dare to ask a question that you imagine the INS officer at the other end has a finger on a delete file button…

    Can you possibly tell me if you have any idea how much longer I need to wait, it has been 8 years?

    NO! You will just have to wait we have no idea how long, it could be 5 more years it may be another 10 more years just wait.

    So you continue staring at a mailbox another 5 years goes by staring at a mailbox wondering if today is the day you can tell your family you are coming.

    Wait what is this a letter?!! Yeee Haaaa Attention Immortal Person you need to complete form AA12371 the form you originally sent us is now outdated send the new form in with updated photos of how you look now along with a fee of $450 or we cannot continue processing your application and it will be deleted from records.

    So you send the form and payment in and wait another 3 years goes by more forms more fees and nothing so you make the dreaded call to immigration hello I have been waiting 16 years for a visa number any idea how my case is going?

    NO! Just wait what is it with you people if we tell you wait we mean wait!.

    So you wait another 7 years go by you are now in your 23rd year of waiting and you get a letter dated January 3rd which you receive January 8 for an appointment in your country January 10 Dear Sir congratulations we are now ready to process your visa your appointment is January 10 please make an appointment with named Doctors in letter bring full medical report bring chest x-rays bring proof of receiving 14 different inoculation injections if we do not have these items on the day of your interview we cannot process your application the medical report x-ray and injections must not be dated prior to our letter and they must be at the clinics named if you cannot make it to the interview with these items you must cancel your interview to prevent deletion of your file.

    So off course you cannot book a medical and get all these items done and fly to the location in two days so you contact the INS and cancel the interview as very cleverly the interviews are scheduled in such a way that you can only but fail to go.

    6 weeks later you receive a letter ‘Due to you not attending the interview your file has now been deleted if you wish to reapply you must start from the beginning with a whole new application’ there is no recourse.

    23 years down the drain ,,, Think this is BS? It happened to me no matter how many letters I write all are ignored; congressmen white house etc etc can do nothing, I will never get to be with my family now I have run out of time I waited so long I got old.

    American congressmen hate immigrants period so seeing a story that says Not Anytime Soon is nothing surprising its all about taking fees and giving nothing in return the INS should change its name again to the The Great American Boiler Room.
    And before any of you harp on about its not a right etc no one said it was this is what happens when you do it the right way with legal path to American family only a few ever get processed as if they need to approve someone or it will look really bad the rest are lost voices separated from family forever..

  • LostNTime

    Nice one Erwin;

    Not all undocumented are strawberry picking mexicans bent on crime.

    The majority of the undocumented are made up of people with legal path that do not have the time to wait 30 years for a visa to be with family this is what pisses me off about these stories no one ever asks how come there are so many undocumented when so many are made up of family members of American citizens and that have legal path available to them but are told they are looking at 15-30 years to be joined with their American family; what we live forever?? ..

    Many Americans would not recognize an undocumented person if they were standing in front of them; I am one for starters, I have paid 23 years worth of taxes to the states I own Storage centers and real estate employ Americans who I must say most are the worst workers of all, I have an American father American grandparents American cousins Aunts Uncles etc I waited 23 years just to be told to start again.

    And I am not the only one I know plenty of others just like me one of which owns a chain of restaurants.

    Ok go ahead delete now keep the real stories hidden