Just as a reminder of how far over the Democrats have already bent in order to accommodate GOP bigotry toward minorities in the Senate CIR bill (S. 744) which passed the upper chamber last June, some members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) are refusing to sign on to the House Democratic version of that bill, known as H.R. 15.

The reason is that the Senate bill would eliminate the diversity visa program, which helps at least ten or twenty thousand people immigrate from African and Caribbean countries each year.

An article in The Hill, entitled:The dozen Dem holdouts on immigration (February 23), quotes CBC member Representative Yvette Clarke (D-NY) as saying last year:

"We want to be sure that this nation is not one which doesn't continue to welcome people of African descent and that it is comparable to what we do for others coming from around the world."


Other House liberal Democrats object to the Senate bill because of the "border surge" provisions, which many critics (including yours truly) call "border militarization".

Meanwhile, a couple of conservative Southern House Democrats, Rep. John Barrow (GA) and Rep. Mike McIntyre (NC) who are fighting to hold their seats in the face of Republican opposition, refuse to support the House version of CIR because of the "amnesty" provisions.

Anyone surprised at their lack of courage and principle? Will selling out do them any good this fall? The most important point of all, however, is that none of this makes any difference.

The Hill quotes David King, professor of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government as being pessimistic about the future of the comprehensive immigration bill in the House:

"At this point immigration reform is simply cheap talk...The Republicans aren't going to let it get to the floor. The clamoring for a discharge petition is simply a political ploy that has no chance of surviving."

Isn't about time for those of us who support immigration reform to accept the reality, which has been evident to everyone for at least the past six months, that there will be no reform as long as the Republicans continue to control the House, no matter how much immigration advocates try to compromise with a Republican party that is dominated by Tea Party bigots?

It is long since past the time to move on from spinning our wheels over reform bills, whether "comprehensive" or "piecemeal", that have no chance in this Congress, and will have even less chance in the next one if the Koch brothers and other right wing billionaires succeed in buying the Senate for the Republicans this fall. Instead, immigration supporters need to focus on turning out Latino and other pro-immigrant voters in the coming election.

Immigration advocates also need to step up the pressure on President Obama to grant relief from deportation to more classes of people through the broad administrative powers which he is pretending not to have.

It is also time to speak up more vigorously against this administration's ongoing and intensifying "culture of no" with regard to legal immigration, especially H-1B, L-1, extraordinary ability, and other petitions affecting our most educated and skilled immigrants.

Even many Republicans are decrying the insanity of continuing to turn away the best and brightest immigrants from all over the world from America's shores. Democrats should do no less.

Roger Algase is a New York lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School who has been practicing business and professional immigration law for more than 30 years. He is devoted to helping H-1B, O-1 and EB-1 extraordinary ability, labor certification and marriage-based clients, among others, deal successfully with our complex immigration system. His email is algaselex@gmail.com