Immigration Reform’s Lost Month

Success on the town hall circuit doesn't mean reform advocates will win in Congress

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Lucy Nicholson/REUTERS

Maria Cervantes, 6, takes part in a 24-hour vigil calling on Congress to pass immigration reform in Los Angeles, June 27, 2013.

August is nearly over, and with it ends the discussion over which side in the immigration debate enjoyed the upper hand while Congress was in recess. The verdict was nearly unanimous. It was also mistaken.

Proponents of reform, noted the Washington Post, launched an “all-out push,” pressing a comprehensive overhaul of U.S. immigration law at “roundtables and rallies, sit-ins and voter registration drives, as well as expensive radio and television ads.” Meanwhile, opponents “have been mostly absent” from public view, wrote The Atlantic,. “Anti-immigration forces have lain low,” Politico agreed. Liberal blogs gleefully circulated photos of Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King, an icon of the anti-reform movement, speaking to a sparse crowd on the first leg of a “Stop Amnesty” tour. Reform advocates have “prevailed” over the summer break, wrote The New Republic, under a headline that read: “Immigration Reform is Having a Good Month.”

But this assessment misses the forest for the trees.

If you measure success by events held and headlines generated, it’s true that the diverse array of groups who support immigration reform trounced a shrinking and disorganized opposition during the August recess. It also doesn’t matter much. An immigration overhaul like the bill that passed the Senate in June already enjoyed broad support among voters, including a majority of Republicans. The continuing success of the outside game does little to change the lack of momentum inside the Capitol.

(MORE: Can a Dusty Legislative Gambit Revive Immigration Reform?)

There is no timetable for legislative action in the House. Republicans have slow-walked the issue into a brief fall legislative session that will be dominated by another round of budget brinkmanship. The crowded calendar is one reason supporters had hoped the deal would be done by now, knowing the chances of success grow slimmer the longer the debate drags on.

Yes, a few dozen conservatives are open to a path to citizenship. But House Republicans have vowed not to take up the Senate bill, and an alternative proposal in the House never materialized. It seems unlikely a House Republican majority that has been content to let the issue languish will abruptly shift course — especially now that Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Raul Labrador, two of the Republicans with the credibility to sell an overhaul to their colleagues, have abandoned their roles as pitchmen.

Advocates were cheered by the dearth of organized opposition to reform because the conservative base has won recess battles in the past. In 2007, the grassroots rebelled at a George W. Bush-backed immigration proposal, and the 2009 recess furies foreshadowed the Republican landslide in the 2010 midterms. But grassroots strength is an imperfect portent of legislative success. Take Obamacare, which passed despite the Tea Party outcry at venomous town halls.

As one progressive involved in the immigration-reform push puts it: “Progressives need to be less confident that field and legislative outcomes are linked — a recurring illusion.” Even if immigration reform managed to “survive” August, it did so only on life support.

MORE: Exclusive: RNC Ups Immigration-Reform Pressure on Congressional GOP — but Rejects Path to Citizenship

28 comments
joaquin
joaquin

The author is wrong that the Senate bill enjoyed "broad support among voters." It did not. S. 744 would have given immediate work authorization to 11 million illegal immigrants and approved an increase in the non-immigrant worker visas that would eventually import 20 million or so overseas workers---two measures that are unpopular in an America where 20 million are unemployed and under-employed.


The other reason reform will fail is because, despite all the hoopla in the print and broadcast media, it isn't popular back home. Immigration reform is a Beltway-driven issue that grassroots Americans oppose.

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

More important legislative agenda are waiting. Benghazi, IRS among others. Now the Syrian civil war. Immigration Reform Act is just the project of the Democrats who want to expand their political base in time for 2014 and beyond.

DaveFrancis
DaveFrancis

Evaluate the devious actions within the Obama Administrations?  

 Report Says IRS Undermines SSA's Fight against Illegal Aliens’ Felonious Use of Social Security Numbers

In a CNSNew report that the Social Security Administration’s Inspector General said his agency’s efforts to stop illegal aliens from using fraudulent or stolen Social Security Numbers has been “hindered” by the Internal Revenue Service's failure to penalize employers who file W-2s on which the Social Security Number and name do not match SSA records.

The report found that 20 percent of the Social Security Numbers used were not real – e.g., 42,164 had numbers that were all zeros. The remaining 80 percent belonged to citizens or legal residents. The IG found that, “About 380,000 of these belonged to young children, and about 258,000 belonged to deceased individuals.” The most heinous criminal enterprise is procuring young children and infants SS numbers, which is absolutely disgusting.

The misuse of a Social Security Number can be a felony. According to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, “The Social Security Act provides that whoever, with the intent to deceive, falsely represents a number to be his or her SSN when, in fact, that number was not assigned to that person, shall be guilty of a felony and subject to a fine.”

The report also said SSA staff thought employers were unafraid to file bad W-2s because they knew noone would not pursue them. “SSA staff told us employers hired unauthorized workers because nothing prevented them from doing so. That is, employers know SSA had no legal authority to levy fines and penalties, and they were not concerned about potential IRS sanctions,” the report said. “SSA staff believed applying penalties would deter SSN misuse. Furthermore, SSA senior staff believed the Agency could provide the IRS with sufficient evidence to show an employer knew or should have known its employees’ SSNs were incorrect. For example, a reasonable person should recognize that hundreds of workers could not have the same or consecutively numbered SSNs.”

DaveFrancis
DaveFrancis


Some employers admitted to the IG they hired illegal aliens. “Several of the employers and industry associations we contacted acknowledged that unauthorized non-citizens contributed to SSN misuse,” said the report. “For example, one employer told us his and many restaurants would close if they did not hire unauthorized non-citizens.”

The report also focused on problems that prevented the SSA from fighting SSN misuse. In addition to the IRS’ failure to impose penalties, the report cited employers’ resistance to using E-Verify and a provision in the Internal Revenue Code that prevents the SSA from sharing no-match information with the Department of Homeland Security.

So the question to the Obama Administration is why these people are held accountable for this serious violation? Not only these criminals stealing Social Security Numbers, but a larger majority are from foreign countries and of already committed a crime by illegally crossing the borders, but lied to agents at airline terminals that they were only tourist or others and “Overstaying“ their visas.

Read the whole report at CNS News Friday, August 30, 2013

Face facts that agencies of the Obama government are using undermining laws already in the Federal Register and that includes pandering to millions of illegal aliens. The Obama administration issued a new policy last Friday that directs ICE Agents to avoid arresting and deporting illegal aliens with minor children, the Washington Times reports. It extends amnesty-in-place protection to yet another category of illegal aliens.

The ICE policy, known as the “Family Interest Directive,” tells Agents to use “prosecutorial discretion” to try to avoid detaining illegal-alien parents. Field Operations Directors “shall continue to weigh whether an exercise of prosecutorial discretion may be warranted for a given alien and shall consider all relevant factors in this determination, including whether the alien is a parent or legal guardian of a USC (citizen) or LPR (legal permanent resident) minor, or is a primary caretaker of a minor.”

HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS ARE BEING SYPHINED FROM FEDERAL AND STATE TREASURES SUPPORT “CHAIN MIGRATION AND THE BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP LAW” meant only for children of U.S. citizens.

It is time that all U.S. citizens and legal immigrants should be issued a high-tech, fraud-proof Social Security card who want jobs, to vote and stop people becoming victims of credit fraud. Your private data would be stored only on the card; no government database would house everyone’s information. The mandatory card would not contain any private information, medical information or even a tracking device. The card would be a high-tech version of the Social Security card that citizens already have, instead of the antiquated piece of card we have now. Potential employers would be responsible for swiping the cards through a machine to confirm a person’s identity and immigration status; also be used to recognize a U.S. citizen to vote and would also identify credit thieves; the main identifiers would certainly be photograph, fingerprint or even a retinal scan. Read more on the costs and forced illegal immigration legacy on American society through the websites of Numbersusa.com and Judicialwatch.org, teaparty.org and many other non profit, grassroots organizations.

 

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Fwd_US_Is_Wrong
Fwd_US_Is_Wrong like.author.displayName 1 Like

@MaySanityPrevail a lot of Dems, liberals, Hispanics, blacks, whites, Asians all oppose amnesty, yet here you are calling them "anti-immigrant extremists". Is that really correct?

Perhaps - unlike you - they just realize what's going on. Far-left groups that want even more racial power (such as the NCLR) are joining with Big Business (that wants lower wages) to screw everyone else.

More liberals would oppose amnesty if they just realized why the USChamber, WalMart, Tyson Foods, and all the rest want it so much. Hint: it isn't to *raise* wages.

MaySanityPrevail
MaySanityPrevail

@Fwd_US_Is_Wrong @MaySanityPrevail They are extremists by any definition. Yes you can find 10 or 15 percent of Hispanics, blacks, or any other group who agree with you, but they are opposed by overwhelming majorities of those groups and a majority of the American people, who want immigration reform that includes a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants. In addition to the businesses you mention, those supporting reform include a broad cross-section or Americans who agree on little else: faith groups of left, right, and center, most Republicans, Democrats, libertarians, and independents, most young people, almost all unions, most economists... everyone, really, other than people like yourself. You give yourself away when you say that mainstream civil rights groups like NCLR support immigration reform because they "want even more racial power." What exactly is your fear? 

Leftcoastrocky
Leftcoastrocky

It doesn't matter what the benefits are to immigration reform (or any other issue/legislation) if Obama is in favor of it the Teapublicans oppose it.


Their main goal is to destroy Obama; if it takes the country down too (e.g., S&P lowered credit rating because of Teapublicans) that doesn't matter to them.

Fwd_US_Is_Wrong
Fwd_US_Is_Wrong

@Leftcoastrocky one of my main criticisms of the TPers is that for the past four years they've largely ignored immig. They're doing that now, as the TP "Patriots" are harping on Obamacare and mostly ignoring amnesty.

Which means that "Leftcoastrocky" and the TPers are, if not on the same side, at least "allies in effect" on amnesty. The TPers want what's best for Big Business: that's why the strongly oppose Obamacare, regulations, etc. and why they mostly ignore immig.

The TPers are *in effect* on this issue closer to "Leftcoastrocky" than they are to most Americans.

SistersofMercy
SistersofMercy

@TIME @TIMEPolitics - Not for us. We have events in Cincinnati and Chicago this week and another in Omaha next week.

Obama_dogeater
Obama_dogeater like.author.displayName 1 Like

@SistersofMercy @TIME @TIMEPolitics Will your event encourage obeying our immigration laws?

Fwd_US_Is_Wrong
Fwd_US_Is_Wrong

@Obama_dogeater@TIME@TIMEPoliticsThe Sisters of Mercy are charlatans: their immigration stance will help *increase* border deaths:

http://24ahead.com/s/false-compassion

What sort of religious leaders would help *increase* border deaths? Charlatans like the Sisters of Mercy.

Want to do something about such charlatans? Make the points on the link to anyone duped by the Sisters of Mercy or similar groups.

MosesGibson
MosesGibson

legalizing undocumented immigrants will generate a lot of income....learn to speak with the facts and not with fear mongering.: http://www.itep.org/immigration/

DickieVee
DickieVee like.author.displayName 1 Like

@MosesGibson

Moses you do know you can't believe everything you see on the internet?

But even following the chart you list a few "facts" are ignored. 1. If legalizing undocumented immigrants will raise $2 billion in tax revenue, that means that's another $2 billion taken from the checks of people who already work low wages. 2. The government collecting tax revenue and the government keeping tax revenue are two different things. In the tax system you pay as you earn but in April if you haven't earned enough you get a refund- most low-wage earners, especially those with many children, probably don't pay any taxes at all when you add it up and subtract their refund, earned income credit, and child tax exemptions.

Another big question on the chart is just HOW does legalization increase those paying taxes from 6.4 percent to 7 percent? Not that it matters really because I know plenty of low-wage workers who get every penny back and then some by working the system.

Learn to question "facts" and be fully informed. Here's the another side to the tax picture:

http://www.wthr.com/story/18204912/tax-loophole-investigation

drudown
drudown like.author.displayName 1 Like

Gee, I just read that the United States' alleged "borrowing limit" (whatever that means) will be "reached" this Fall.

Accordingly, if our GOP Congress REFUSES to raise revenue via its prescribed duty for existing US taxpayers, how, pray tell, can anyone justify magically transmuting 20,000,000 low-income foreign nationals into new "citizens", i.e., with ALL the respective entitlement costs- both now and in the future?

(cricket, cricket)

What a farce.


Obama_dogeater
Obama_dogeater

@drudown Your hero Obama just said Congress has no core functions.

drudown
drudown like.author.displayName 1 Like

@Obama_dogeater @drudown

As noted elsewhere herein,Actually, our Congress has a PRESCRIBED duty to RAISE REVENUE per the express language of Article I, Section 8. What, are you GOP PR puppets without a Constitution or does "strict construction" only apply to the 2nd Amendment? Our Founding Fathers would roll over in their graves if they came to learn that Big Business founded a sham "Tea Party" which is obviously not any different than ANY other facet of the "lock step", "sign your oath of fealty to Grover on K Street" GOP...well, I guess your campaign contributors suddenly expect the People to imagine the text on the actual sheet of of the Constitution "suddenly isn't" the real law of the Land? The very notion that OUR OWN ELECTED OFFICIALS would effectuate a "shut down" of the government when the Constitution expressly requires their own hand to raise the NECESSARY TAXES is, in fact, unlawful.

Richard_Walega
Richard_Walega like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@TIME @TIMEPolitics Is anyone surprised that TBaggers have held reform back? They can't deal with ANY issue except "don't tax the rich"

Obama_dogeater
Obama_dogeater like.author.displayName 1 Like

@Richard_Walega @TIME @TIMEPolitics Or maybe they just our immigration laws enforced. Demonrats love illegal aliens because those are more people for their Entitlement Plantation.

caffine_cigs
caffine_cigs like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 4 Like

@TIME @TIMEPolitics How to create 20 million jobs for America/USA citizens & reduce entitlements $ ?~ Deport 22 million immigration illegals

drudown
drudown like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

@Richard_Walega @caffine_cigs @TIME @TIMEPolitics 

Simply because you are taking the self-perceived "moral high road" does not change the fiscal burden that creating 20,000,000 low income citizens entails. Moreover, why should the People of the United States have their voting power diluted by 20,000,000 votes? The last popular vote was decided by a mere 1,000,000 votes. It is much easier to call people "idiots" than rationally defend why a certain class of lawbreakers (i.e., illegal immigrants) deserve special treatment (i.e., amnesty) when doing so clearly violates the express mandate of the Equal Protection Clause. So which is it? Are we a nation of precedent and law ...or does the "moral majority" get to contravene the Bill of Rights because it seems like "the right thing to do", notwithstanding no corollary in any other sovereign, i.e., break the law to get there and- boom!- now you get to vote and are magically the same as you or me.

Lifeboat ethics works and is.

To say nothing of our nation's sovereignty.