Immigration Law Blogs on ILW.COM

by Roger Algase

Bloggings: More Bad News For CIR Prospects in the House of Representatives by Roger Algase

It is no fun being pessimistic about the chances for CIR passage this year. The hopes of so many people, the 2012 election results, the urgency of doing something realistic about the 11 million unauthorized immigrants, the reality of demographic change, the needs of our economy for both high skilled and low skilled labor, and America's traditional ideal as a land of opportunity and racial equality, all make the case for reform overwhelming.

Even from an immigration restrictionist perspective, the approved Senate CIR bill, S.744, with its $46 billion price tag for more fences, drones and other high tech equipment along the Mexican border, not to mention additional 20,000 border patrol agents, will inevitably make a significant reduction in unauthorized immigration.

S.744 would also reduce family (i.e Latino) immigration, eliminate the Africa-friendly diversity green card lottery, expand e-verify and impose additional requirements on H-1B dependent companies - all long held restrictionist goals.

When the obvious need for reform is put together with the broad support across the entire political spectrum, from liberal Latino and other pro-immigrant organizations at one end, to right wing Christian evangelicals, the Koch brothers and Bill O'Reilly of Fox News at the other; it would seem simply inconceivable that CIR could fail once again, as it did in 2007.

But the above would assume that America is a truly democratic society with a political system that reflects the will of the overwhelming majority of its people. It also assumes that opposition to CIR is rational. The reality is otherwise on both counts

Last year, a million more Americans voted for Democratic candidates for the House of Representatives than voted for Republican ones, but that chamber is nevertheless controlled by an extremist Republican majority, most of whom are from safely (white) gerrymandered districts and only worried about primary challenges from even more extreme Tea Party candidates.

These House Republicans, clearly, have no use for brown-skinned immigrants, authorized or otherwise, especially if they are less educated or less well off. See, Kevin R. Johnson: The Intersection of Race and Class in U.S. Immigration Law and Enforcement (2009).

 The reality, therefore, is that CIR is in very deep trouble in the House.

See Politico: Immigration reform heads for slow death, July 9.

Politico states:

Top Republican and Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill see the momentum swinging decidedly against getting a [CIR] deal this Congress. Rubio persuaded only 13 fellow Republicans to back the bill; the editors of the National Review and Weekly Standard offered a rare, joint editorial in opposition to it this week; and private GOP headcounts show only a small fraction of House Republicans would ever vote for anything approximating the Senate deal...

With even the most modest measures facing an uphill fight, getting to a pathway to citizenship - which Democrats will demand be part of any eventual deal - looks like a pipe dream."

Meanwhile, the president looks on helpessly from the sidelines. Politico: Obama's immigration strategy in limbo (July 9).

This is no time for complacency or wishful thinking by immigration reform supporters.

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.
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