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Posts tagged ‘Immigration reform’

McCain: Immigration Reform Crucial to GOP Success.


Sen. John McCain says he hasn’t yet given up on immigration reform – and he believes failure to pass anything will hurt GOP chances at the ballot box.

“States like mine, over time, the demographics will overtake, not only mine but throughout the whole Southwest and many other parts of the country,” the Arizona Republican said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” 

A failure to embrace Latino voters could spell doom as Republicans approach this years midterm congressional elections and the 2016 presidential campaign, McCain said.

Story continues below video.

The Senate, where McCain serves, has already passed immigration reform, but the effort is stalled in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

McCain said he will work see a bill passed through Congress for the president’s signature before the midterms.

“I have not given up hope that we will act, and we must act,” he said.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Greg Richter

Boehner Stalls Immigration Bill Citing Lack of Trust in Obama.


House Speaker John Boehner said it would be difficult to pass an immigration bill because fellow Republicans don’t trust President Barack Obama to implement the law, a position that shrinks chances for House action this year.

“There’s widespread doubt about whether this administration can be trusted to enforce our laws,” Boehner told reporters in Washington today. “And it’s going to be difficult to move any immigration legislation until that changes.”

Boehner released a framework last week for immigration revisions that dropped a number of aspects of the bipartisan bill passed by the Senate last year.

Some House Republicans, including those who supported the Senate’s approach, resist moving immigration legislation that risks dividing the party and overshadowing their election-year message of curbing Obama’s health-care law.

Boehner said Obama could improve relations with the House by urging the Senate to pass a quartet of bills, including two that the president has said he’d veto. The bills would provide flexible hours to working parents, divert taxpayer funds now used for political conventions, provide job training and allow natural gas pipelines.

“The president is asking us to move one of the biggest bills of his presidency, and yet he’s shown very little willingness to work with us on the smallest of things,” Boehner said.

 

© Copyright 2014 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.
Source: Newsmax.com

McConnell Cools on Immigration Reform:


Image: McConnell Cools on Immigration Reform

By Elliot Jager

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said that differences between the House and Senate on immigration reform are too big to bridge in 2014, The Hill reported.

The Senate passed a comprehensive bipartisan immigration bill in June that would set a path to citizenship for the approximately 11 million people now in the U.S. illegally.

Latest: Do You Support Giving Illegals Citizenship? Vote Here Now 

McConnell said the differences between the Democratic-controlled Senate and the Republican-led House are “irresolvable,” the Hill reported.

“I don’t see how you get to an outcome this year with the two bodies in such a different place,” said McConnell.

McConnell is facing off against tea party opponent Matt Bevin in Kentucky’s GOP primary. Bevin has taken a hard-nosed anti-immigration stance.

Republican strategists including William Kristol, the editor of The Weekly Standard, and Erick Erickson, the editor-in-chief of RedState, have argued that this is not the time to tackle immigration. Doing so, they say, would call attention to divisions within the party and take attention away from the failures of President Barack Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act.

House Republican leaders led by Speaker John Boehner had issued a statement of principles on immigration, in conjunction with the recent House retreat, that would revamp the country’s immigration laws a little at a time and in a way that non-tea party conservatives could live with.

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who helped to craft the principles, said he does not know if an immigration law can be passed. “That is clearly in doubt,” he told ABC’s “This Week” and depends on whether Democrats were willing to “secure the border,” and “agree to not having an amnesty,” The Hill reported.

Republican Rep. Jeff Denham of California who supports immigration reform, said that the House leadership has not given up,  according to Breitbart. 

“I think leadership’s focus and my focus is to get [immigration] done as early as possible. It’s part of our conference agenda right now. It doesn’t go on the agenda without scheduling bills and scheduling time on the floor,” Denham said.

Meanwhile, Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, who backed the Senate immigration bill, said that McConnell was probably right about prospects for immigration reform.

“The Democrats want amnesty and the Republicans would like to solve this problem, but in the House they’re not about to give amnesty,” he said.

Editor’s Note: 5 Reasons Stocks Will Collapse . . . 

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Dennis Hastert: GOP Can’t Ignore Path to Citizenship for Immigrants.


The House immigration bill should include a pathway to citizenship for those who are already here, former Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert says. 

“The whole formula for immigration reform can fall into place if two basic issues are solved,” Hastert, of Illinois, wrote in an opinion piece for Politico. “First, securing our borders so we know who is entering our country and for what purpose. Second, a legalization of those folks who are already here, many of whom have been here for a decade or more.”

And, Hastert explains, legalization means that there must be “a path to citizenship much like any other immigrant would have.” 

But the country cannot just do nothing, he said. “The cost of inaction is high,” Hastert claims. 

The United States has too much to gain economically, according to reports from the Congressional Budget Office and and the Bipartisan Policy Center that Hastert cites. The CBO predicted that Gross Domestic Product would increase 5.4 percent if the immigrants here were given citizenship over 20 years, and the BPC has said that immigration reform would reduce the federal deficit more than $1.2 trillion in the same amount of time. 

According to Hastert, immigration reform is also necessary to fill jobs in a variety of sectors such as science and technology, agriculture, and manufacturing, where immigrants are needed. 

“Immigration is necessary for our economic recovery,” he wrote. “We need a reasonable way to bring [immigrants] out of the shadows so that they can legally contribute to our economy.”

“Removing them is neither practical nor economically smart,” he added. 

There are national security issues at stake, as well. If Homeland Security knows who is here, it will make it easier for “law enforcement to refocus their resources on removing individuals with criminal backgrounds.” 

He also explains that embracing Latinos, which are expected to make up 30 percent of the population by 2050, is necessary for the political survival of the Republican Party. 

“My own party must acknowledge this reality and embrace these ever-growing constituencies if it is to remain relevant in national elections,” Hastert concluded in his opinion piece. 

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Courtney Coren

Ryan, Republicans Blame Obama for Stalling Immigration.


Republicans are starting to lay the blame on President Barack Obama if an overhaul of the nation’s broken immigration system fails to become law.

The GOP’s emerging plan on immigration is to criticize Obama as an untrustworthy leader and his administration as an unreliable enforcer of any laws that might be passed. Perhaps realizing the odds of finding a consensus on immigration are long, the Republicans have started telling voters that if the GOP-led House doesn’t take action this election year, it is Obama’s fault.

“If the president had been serious about this the last five years, we’d be further along in this discussion,” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican, said Sunday.

House Republicans last week unveiled a road map for an overhaul of the nation’s broken immigration system that calls for increased border security, better law enforcement within the U.S. and a pathway to legal status — but not citizenship — for millions of adults who live in America unlawfully. The proposal requires those here illegally to pay back taxes and fines.

But one of its backers, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, said distrust of Obama poisons interest among some in his Republican caucus.

“Here’s the issue that all Republicans agree on: We don’t trust the president to enforce the law,” said Ryan, his party’s vice presidential nominee in 2012.

Ryan said a plan that puts security first could only pass the House if lawmakers believe the administration would enforce it — an unlikely prospect given Republicans’ deep opposition to Obama. The president’s waivers for provisions in his 4-year-old health care law have increased suspicions among Republicans.

“This isn’t a trust-but-verify, this is a verify-then-trust approach,” Ryan said.

Asked whether immigration legislation would make its way to Obama for him to sign into law, Ryan said he was skeptical: “I really don’t know the answer to that question. That is clearly in doubt.”

The Senate last year passed a comprehensive, bipartisan bill that addressed border security, provided enforcement measures and offered a long and difficult path to citizenship for those living here illegally. The measure stalled in the GOP-led House, where leaders want to take a more piecemeal approach.

In the meantime, Republicans have started uniting behind a message that Obama won’t hold up his end of the bargain.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said “there’s a lot of distrust of this administration in implanting the law.” And Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., last week warned that distrust of Obama would trump the desire to find a solution for the estimated 11 million people living in the United States illegally.

“We just don’t think government will enforce the law anyway,” Rubio said, recounting conversations he’s had with fellow Republicans.

Immigration legislation is a dicey political question for the GOP. The party’s conservative base opposes any measure that would create a pathway to citizenship for immigrants living here illegally, but many in the party worry that failing to act could strengthen support among many voters for Democratic candidates.

In 2012, Obama won re-election with the backing of 71 percent of Hispanic voters and 73 percent of Asian voters. The issue is important to both voting blocs.

The White House, meanwhile, is trying to give Republicans a chance to hammer out their intra-party differences in the hopes they find a way to give legal standing to those here illegally.

“We ought to see a pathway to citizenship for people,” White House chief of staff Denis McDonough said Sunday. “We don’t want to have a permanent separation of classes or two permanent different classes of Americans in this country.”

McDonough said the White House remains optimistic that legislation that includes citizenship could reach the president’s desk: “We feel pretty good that we’ll get a bill done this year.”

Jindal spoke to CNN’s “State of the Union.” Ryan appeared on ABC’s “This Week.” Cantor was interviewed on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” McDonough appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and CBS.

 

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Source: Newsmax.com

Eric Cantor: Obamacare Living ‘on Borrowed Time’.


House Republicans plan a renewed push on healthcare reform, with a vote on an alternative plan before the end of the year, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Sunday.

Further, party members held a “very robust discussion” about immigration during their annual retreat, held last week, Cantor told “Face the Nation” jost Major Garrett in an interview aired Sunday. Party members don’t trust the Obama administration to properly implement immigration reform.

“We just heard the President in his State of the Union address say, you know what, if he can work with Congress, he’s going to do it his own way,” said Cantor. “And that sort of breeds this kind of distrust and I think we’re going to have to do something about that in order to see a way forward on immigration.”

Editor’s Note: 22 Hidden Taxes and Fees Set to Hit You With Obamacare. Read the Guide to Protect Yourself. 

Story continues below.

Cantor said a successful immigration policy will have to ensure that the nation’s borders are controlled.

“This goes back to the distrust,” said Cantor. “There’s not been a determined sense that we are going to secure the borders and make sure that the laws on the books are being implemented now. I would say that is a precursor and has to happen first.”

Immigrants want to come to the United States because the nation’s laws create opportunity, and “we want to make sure, before anything else, that there is border security and implementation of the laws.”

Cantor said he believes both sides of the immigration issue should deal with one principle they can agree on — the children.

“Most people say this country has never held kids liable for the misdeeds of their parents,” said Cantor. “I think that in many instances, kids have been brought here and some, unbeknownst to themselves, and brought here illegally, and yet they know no other place is home. Certainly we ought to take care of that problem.”

Cantor said Republicans also want to help the nation’s problems with job growth.

“We know that 75 percent of Americans are living from paycheck to paycheck,” said Cantor. “We’ve come up with some real solutions to help America work for those people too.”

Cantor said that Americans need to be able to trust that President Barack Obama will implement laws that are passed.

“Look what he’s done with Obamacare, said Cantor. “He has selectively enforced that law and some have raised constitutional questions whether he can even do some things like that.”

As a result, Cantor said, “Obamacare is on borrowed time. Policies are being canceled, prices are going up, access to hospitals are being limited … we want a healthcare system that works for all Americans.”

Part of the Republicans’ plan for health care reform deals with people with pre-existing conditions.

“We don’t want them to go without coverage,” said Cantor. “We just deal with it in a way, and provide high risk pools, so that we can limit the increase in costs for everybody else and do it in a much more effective manner.”

Further, Cantor said Republicans believe people should have their choice of insurers, and should be able to buy coverage across state lines.

“We ought to have patient-centered care, not care dictated by Washington, which is why we want to promote health savings accounts,” said Cantor. “These are the kind of things that are in our proposal.”

Editor’s Note: 22 Hidden Taxes and Fees Set to Hit You With Obamacare. Read the Guide to Protect Yourself. 

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Sandy Fitzgerald

Republican Plan Would Grant Citizenship to Some Undocumented Children.


A series of immigration reform steps floated on Thursday by House Republicans would grant citizenship for some children brought into the United States illegally by their parents and halt deportations of some undocumented adults, according to a policy document obtained by Reuters and The Associated Press.

The immigration reform principles, which a source said are open to change, were to be discussed on Thursday by House Republicans at a closed-door retreat at a resort on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.

House Republican leaders are floating the ideas to see if there is enough support among Republican lawmakers to push a series of immigration bills this year. But some conservative House Republicans already were criticizing the proposals and predicting they would go no further this year.

The principles also say the country’s national and economic security depends on requiring people who are living and working here illegally to come forward and get right with the law.

It rules out a special path to citizenship. Instead, it says immigrants living here illegally could remain and live legally if they pass background checks, pay fines and back taxes, learn to speak English and understand U.S. civics, and can support themselves without access to welfare.

Speaker John Boehner told reporters at the start of the closed-door conference on Thursday that there would be discussions on immigration and on a series of Republican “principles” developed by leaders of the party, which controls the House.

“I think it’s time to deal with it. But how we deal with it is going to be critically important,” Boehner said as he prepared to hold what promised to be a contentious Thursday session.

Immigration reform, which President Barack Obama is pressing to achieve this year, is one of the key issues before Republicans at their retreat on the Choptank River that flows into the Chesapeake Bay.

Early indications were that House Republicans were coalescing around advancing new healthcare legislation that they will present as an alternative to “Obamacare,” which suffered a troubled rollout in October. But such consensus was not yet forming around immigration reform legislation.

Asked whether Republicans would emerge with an alternative to a bipartisan immigration bill passed by the Senate in June, Boehner said only: “We’re going to have that conversation today; outline the principles, have the discussion, we’ll make some decisions.”

Some outspoken conservative Republicans pointedly disagreed with Boehner’s desire to move forward on immigration legislation.

“It’s not just the conservatives. I think a majority of the conference” think that now is “not the time to deal with the issue,” Representative Raul Labrador of Idaho told Reuters in a telephone interview.

Labrador, who last year was part of a bipartisan group of lawmakers working on a comprehensive immigration deal, said some Republicans fear that getting bogged down in a contentious immigration debate this year could jeopardize the party’s “great opportunity” to take control of the Senate away from Democrats in the November congressional elections.

His remarks came just hours after Boehner stood before television cameras complaining that immigration reform had “become a political football. I think it’s unfair.”

Contradicting Boehner on the high priority of immigration legislation, Labrador said, “I just don’t think this is the time.” He predicted that House Republicans will merely discuss their leaders’ immigration principles and then “move on” to other items this year – such as an alternative to Obama’s healthcare law.

Even allies of Boehner such as Representative Greg Walden of Oregon said that the first half of 2014 could go by without any action on the contentious immigration issue. “It’s probably months out, I don’t know,” Walden said on the sidelines of the Republican conference.

The full text of the GOP’s principles on immigration reads:

PREAMBLE
Our nation’s immigration system is broken and our laws are not being enforced. Washington’s failure to fix them is hurting our economy and jeopardizing our national security. The overriding purpose of our immigration system is to promote and further America’s national interests and that is not the case today. The serious problems in our immigration system must be solved, and we are committed to working in a bipartisan manner to solve them. But they cannot be solved with a single, massive piece of legislation that few have read and even fewer understand, and therefore, we will not go to a conference with the Senate’s immigration bill. The problems in our immigration system must be solved through a step-by-step, common-sense approach that starts with securing our country’s borders, enforcing our laws, and implementing robust enforcement measures. These are the principals guiding us in that effort.

Border Security and Interior Enforcement Must Come First
It is the fundamental duty of any government to secure its borders, and the United States is failing in this mission. We must secure our borders now and verify that they are secure. In addition, we must ensure now that when immigration reform is enacted, there will be a zero tolerance policy for those who cross the border illegally or overstay their visas in the future. Faced with a consistent pattern of administrations of both parties only selectively enforcing our nation’s immigration laws, we must enact reform that ensures that a President cannot unilaterally stop immigration enforcement.

Implement Entry-Exit Visa Tracking System
A fully functioning Entry-Exit system has been mandated by eight separate statutes over the last 17 years. At least three of these laws call for this system to be biometric, using technology to verify identity and prevent fraud. We must implement this system so we can identify and track down visitors who abuse our laws.

Employment Verification and Workplace Enforcement
In the 21st century it is unacceptable that the majority of employees have their work eligibility verified through a paper based system wrought with fraud. It is past time for this country to fully implement a workable electronic employment verification system.

Reforms to the Legal Immigration System
For far too long, the United States has emphasized extended family members and pure luck over employment-based immigration. This is inconsistent with nearly every other developed country. Every year thousands of foreign nationals pursue degrees at America’s colleges and universities, particularly in high skilled fields. Many of them want to use their expertise in U.S. industries that will spur economic growth and create jobs for Americans. When visas aren’t available, we end up exporting this labor and ingenuity to other countries. Visa and green card allocations need to reflect the needs of employers and the desire for these exceptional individuals to help grow our economy.
The goal of any temporary worker program should be to address the economic needs of the country and to strengthen our national security by allowing for realistic, enforceable, usable, legal paths for entry into the United States. Of particular concern are the needs of the agricultural industry, among others. It is imperative that these temporary workers are able to meet the economic needs of the country and do not displace or disadvantage American workers.

Youth
One of the great founding principles of our country was that children would not be punished for the mistakes of their parents. It is time to provide an opportunity for legal residence and citizenship for those who were brought to this country as children through no fault of their own, those who know no other place as home. For those who meet certain eligibility standards, and serve honorably in our military or attain a college degree, we will do just that.

Individuals Living Outside the Rule of Law
Our national and economic security depend on requiring people who are living and working here illegally to come forward and get right with the law. There will be no special path to citizenship for individuals who broke our nation’s immigration laws – that would be unfair to those immigrants who have played by the rules and harmful to promoting the rule of law. Rather, these persons could live legally and without fear in the U.S., but only if they were willing to admit their culpability, pass rigorous background checks, pay significant fines and back taxes, develop proficiency in English and American civics, and be able to support themselves and their families (without access to public benefits). Criminal aliens, gang members, and sex offenders and those who do not meet the above requirements will not be eligible for this program. Finally, none of this can happen before specific enforcement triggers have been implemented to fulfill our promise to the American people that from here on, our immigration laws will indeed be enforced.
 

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