Immigration Reform 2013: House Republicans Are Holding Up Immigration Reform Because — Well, Nobody Knows


Progress has been slow for those expecting a decision on immigration reform, and the varied predictions about the bill’s outcome are of little help in giving the public a clearer idea of what to expect. Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) predicted on Sunday that the bill would pass as House Republicans become increasingly concerned about the future of their party. On the other hand, Representative Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) says that the Senate bill is dead on arrival and the party is much more concerned with “getting it right”.

By spending so much time and effort attempting to make the bill “perfect” we can almost expect that comprehensive immigration reform will be a no-go. 

The current Senate bill addresses various dimensions of immigration, such as the pathway to citizenship, the future flow of immigrants into the U.S., foreign worker visas, and border security. So far, the House has passed four separate bills addressing different aspects of the issue in order to customize immigration reform in a way that is up to par with its preferences. While House Republicans may believe this approach will make the process more navigable, it in fact, will not.

First, breaking up the one bill into mini-bills would make the process longer and Obama is already putting pressure on the House Republicans to finish planning and packaging their immigration bill before the August recess.

Though time is an issue, it is not the biggest one that immigration-reform proponents should fear. We need to take a look at the changes House Republicans want to make and realize that there are some things that the Senate and House are going to disagree on and this is where the problem lies. If, for example, the vocal Republican faction in the House is persistent in not allowing amnesty or the House Republicans continue to disagree with handing out workers visas, how then will an agreement be met?

Taking the piecemeal approach may make the House happy but having the House do its own thing and take its time trying to perfect a bill that by default will not have everyone pleased is just a sign that perhaps, once again, we can expect immigration reform to go nowhere.

As the system is now, border security is overall severely lacking, DREAMers see no solution in sight for their unfortunate situation, and countless immigrants are living in poor conditions while the U.S. is missing out on the potential for economic growth by including these people into our system. 

If immigration reform does not pass due to the House and Senate’s inability to compromise, all the U.S. will be left with is the same, messy, poor excuse for an immigration system. While it may not be perfect in the eyes of the House Republicans, the Senate’s bill covers a great amount of provisions that both parties could agree on and it may be the country’s best bet at implementing real change. Though the bicameral   system provides an excellent way for American politics to maintain its system of checks and balances, in the case of immigration reform, it seems as though the House would be better off taking one for the team.