Friday, January 31, 2014
Congressman Raul Grijalva responds to the statement of immigration principles that House Republicans are now hammering out:
Like many of my colleagues, I’m encouraged to see forward progress on immigration reform, but this document raises more questions than it answers and I wouldn’t be representing my constituents effectively if I didn’t say so.
The entire country knows an enforcement-only strategy is doomed to failure. Unfortunately, this document emphasizes the same failed crackdown efforts that have torn families apart and brought us no closer to a solution. Immigration reform proponents already believe the Senate bill’s additional $43 billion in unnecessary border militarization spending is too much. Republicans seem to believe it’s not nearly enough. The public has a right to know where this money is coming from, how it’s going to be spent, and how it advances the interests of border communities sick and tired of drones, wire fences and a siege mentality.
We’ve been waiting two and a half years for something as simple as a set of principles, so I’m obliged to ask—what is the followup? What is the Republican end game? They have rejected any notion of a conference on S.744. We’re left to wonder—what kind of bill do they want? Will it includes all or parts of the divisive, politicized SAFE Act? What will these principles lead to?
Before we can have a more meaningful conversation, Republicans need to answer several other fundamental questions. How is the end goal of citizenship involved in the ‘legal status’ they intend to create? Is citizenship prohibited for certain groups of people? Who? Who will be affected by the concrete proposal that hopefully comes next? How will the parents or siblings of DREAM Act-eligible youth be treated? What will Republicans do to keep those families together?
The country long ago moved on from starting points and first principles. The public demand for immigration reform is undeniable. House Republicans have dragged their feet as long as possible in an attempt to please their base. That strategy is no longer viable, and I’m glad to see they’ve moved on. The next step they take will tell us more than this page of principles ever could.