ILW.COM's Immigration Law Blogs

by Roger Algase

Bloggings: House Throws Two Strikes Against Immigration Reform. Is Strike Three On The Way? And Could Immigration Reform be Facing a Lost Decade? By Roger Algase


I begin today's post with a message of condolence to Mark Krikorian, head of the strongly anti-immigrant Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and a leading opponent of immigration reform, over the loss of his part time volunteer job teaching ESL to immigrants preparing for the US citizenship test. 

Krikorian was summarily fired from this position by Catholic Charities, the ESL program's sponsor, only a few hours after a column appeared in the Washington Post highlighting his opposition to multiculturalism and "mass immigration" as well as the alleged white supremacist associations of CIS's founder, John Tanton. See The provocateur standing in the way of immigration reform, June 17.

According to the WP (Mark Krikorian loses volunteer job for Catholic Charities after Washington Post story, June 18) Krikorian said that he will miss his volunteer job, because he liked getting to know people from different places, and that he hopes someone else will take him on in the same position.

I am sure that all Immigration Daily readers will wish him great good luck in his search.

Turning to other immigration news, one can expect that there will be considerable euphoria over the news that the Senate may be close to a deal on Border Security which would be acceptable to Republican hold-outs and clear the way to at least the 60 votes which the Gang of Eight's CIR bill, S.744, needs to pass the upper chamber.

The reported deal might even deliver a "large, bipartisan majority of votes" for the bill, according to Politico: Border Security deal boosts immigration bill hopes, June 19.

Details of the purported deal are not yet available as of this writing, but it is questionable how much anyone on either side of the immigration issue really cares how many more billions of dollars are poured into the attempt to make the Mexican border look more like the Berlin Wall.

The real issue is whether Border Security can be used as a pretext for derailing legalization and the Pathway to Citizenship.

As long as that does not happen, then whatever Border Security it takes to get a CIR deal is evidently acceptable to CIR supporters.

The real problem, therefore, is in what Politico accurately call the "parallel universe" of the House of Representatives. See House: Senate immigration bill DOA, June 19.

The full House has already passed a bill which would deny funding to implement both President Obama's Deferred Action program terminating removal proceedings against "low priority" unauthorized immigrants, and his DACA program to give DREAMERS temporary relief from deportation.

While there is no chance of this bill's going anywhere in the Democratic-controlled Senate or being signed by the president, it is a shot across the bow against CIR.

It could also be called strike one. 

This bill has now been followed by a draconian, Sensenbrenner-like bill (to quote from Immigration Daily's June 19 editorial) now being considered in the House Judiciary Committee, which contains criminal penalties against unauthorized immigrants and also gives states the power to enact their own immigration enforcement laws.

This would effectively overrule the US Supreme Court's decision last year invalidating much of Arizona's notorious "papers, please" law.

As Immigration Daily's June 19 editorial also points out, this would take us back to the enforcement-only days of the 2005 House immigration bill.

It would also, in effect, nullify the 2012 election as far as immigrant rights are concerned.

A shot even closer to the bow, or strike two against CIR.

And now for what could be strike three: The above Politico article: House: Senate immigration bill DOA, states:

"If 70 to 80 members vote for the bipartisan bill - which some in the Senate are aiming for - the House would barely feel pressure to take up the bill. Most conservatives instead would see passing the legislation as an act of mass stupidity."

If House anti-immigrant reactionaries are able to pressure Speaker Boehner into following the "Hastert rule" - no bill is taken up unless supported by the majority of the (Republican) majority, this would be strike three, CIR would be out and the game of immigration reform would be over.

And it could be over not only for this year. The House is so gerrymandered, so extreme right wing, so undemocratic and so out of touch with the real America of diversity and demographic change, that we might have a "lost decade" for immigration reform.

See Politico: The Democrats' lost decade? June 19.

The failure of immigration reform, if it does fail, would be only part of an even larger failure of American democracy itself.


About The Author

Roger Algase is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been practicing business immigration law in New York City for more than 20 years.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) alone and should not be imputed to ILW.COM.