Recently House Democrats introduced a comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) bill, despite the current grudge match between Democrats and Republicans who are in a stalemate over the federal budget.According to reliable news outlets such as the Washington Post, the bill serves the purpose of keeping pressure on Republicans to continue to work on immigration reform after budget issues are resolved.
The new bill is entitled the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act” – also known as H.R. 15. Currently the bill has gleaned 166 co-sponsors some of which include heavy hitters such as House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi, as well as other notable Democrats.
Although H.R.15 is similar to earlier versions of immigration reform, there are some key differences. Democrats have removed the Senate approved $40 billion border security stipulations which would have added an additional 20,000 Border Patrol Agents as well as 700 new and additional miles of fencing along the Mexican border.
House Democrats have now inserted language regarding border security that was originally created by the House Homeland Security Committee which they have passed unanimously. According to the Washington Post, the new plan:
“Instructs the Department of Homeland Security to write a plan that could ensure the apprehension of 90 percent of illegal border-crossers in high-traffic areas within two years and across the entire southern border within five years. But it does not set out an exact price or timeline or mandate a certain number of hires.”
Due to speaker Boehner’s previous declarations to only pursue immigration reform in a slow and meticulous fashion, it was questionable whether House Democrats would even attempt such strong action. As the Huffington Post argues:
“The speaker has said repeatedly that no bill will receive a vote if a majority of GOP members oppose it, so it doesn’t matter much. Asked if there was any chance Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) would put the bill on the calendar, Cantor spokesman Rory Cooper replied simply, ‘No.’” [See House Democrats Introduce Immigration Bill With Little Chance Of A Vote, by Elise Foley, Huffington Post, 02.Oct.2013.]
Judging from the low probability of passing and the late date if H.R.15’s introduction, one could argue that House Democrats must have other motives behind their actions. Many experts in the field would argue that the true purpose of H.R.15 is actually to pressure House Republicans while simultaneously providing reassurance to the many immigration advocates closely watching CIR’s development – a population heavily supporting House Democrats.to reassure immigration reform advocates – who skew overwhelmingly toward the Democrats. Some would call it a last ditch effort with the hopes of pushing some form if CIR through the House
Beeraj Patel, Esq.
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