House Republicans' Commitment to America includes a plan for securing the border and combatting illegal immigration.

The Republicans claim that a record number of illegal border crossings has "led to more drugs, more crime, and a demoralized Border Patrol" that is being prevented from enforcing the law. They say this has "become both a national security and humanitarian crisis."

Their plan calls to increase funding for border enforcement, infrastructure, and technology to prevent illegal crossings. It also calls for improving internal enforcement measures, an end to catch-and-release loopholes, requiring proof of legal status for employment, and eliminating welfare incentives that entice people to cross illegally.

The Republicans need legislation to implement this plan, and they will need Democratic support to pass such a bill. Although they will soon have a majority in the House of Representatives, they won't have a majority in the Senate.

However, they might still be able to get the Democratic support they need if they approach the Democrats the right way.

Just as with the Democrats' benefits-only bills, it will be extremely difficult for Republicans to get enough Democratic support to pass a bill that only has provisions that appeal only to one side, like border security and internal enforcement measures.

It would be better to try the approach that made the last comprehensive immigration reform bill—the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986—possible.


Published originally on Newsweek.

Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an Executive Branch Immigration Law Expert for three years. He subsequently served as an immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years. Follow him at: