I regret to say that the I oppose the immigration bill passed by the Senate and abhor even more what the House proposes. Like DOMA and “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” this bill if enacted will be scorned in years to come. Democrats are supporting it, just as Oliver Twist ate his porridge, and some Republicans are supporting it because they enjoy watching Oliver Twist eat the gruel.
Republicans have hurled so many poisoned darts at the immigration reform pinata that if it were to burst open, its fruit would be harmful and unsafe to citizens and immigrants alike. The incredibly onerous path to citizenship and the obscene costs added for border security are ludicrous. So many absurd requirements have been added to the bill that one thinks the issue is not to increase border security so much as a deep antipathy toward immigrants and a path to citizenship. Add to that list: hatred toward Obama, determination to scuttle or weaken any Democratic proposal, a narrow view of the interests in a congressional district, and suicide ideation.
Enter Senator Jeff Chiesa, one of Christie’s closest confidantes and acolytes. He owes so much ( 4 or so high-level jobs) to the Governor that when he knows what Christie wants it is unlikely he will do otherwise. Christie presumably found the gruel appropriate for his own gubernatorial and presidential efforts. Sen. Chiesa voted YES because “This bill strengthens border security, E-verify and better identifies visa overstays through an improved entry/exit system.” No mention of concern over the plight of immigrants nor a path to citizenship.
Sen. Robert Menendez (D), of Hispanic origin, a strong supporter of progressive immigration policy, and a member of the “Gang of Eight,” which crafted the bill, said, “This is the culmination of a long journey for me. I’ve been blazing a pathway to citizenship that would keep families together and give them a chance at a better life — and this bill does that. The road has been fraught with the same obstacles – the same pitfalls and prejudices — that have stood in the way of every generation of immigrants who wanted nothing more than a pathway to acceptance and opportunity.”
In the meantime, the immigration pinata in the House of Representatives is getting little attention. Roll Call reports, “Speaker Boehner reaffirmed his commitment to House Republicans on Wednesday that he would not bring up the Senate bill for a vote in the House.” Apparently the bill is not awful enough to merit the House’s attention. Methinks the man blusters too much and perchance will allow a vote. If so it could be on a House bill which is all border security and no path to citizenship.
Between poisoned pinatas and lousy gruel we are offered an inedible meal. Our Congress now is no place to enact reasonable, sensible legislation. S.744, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill, passed 68 to 32, with 14 Republicans voting in favor, and is now headed to the House.