Assertions in this space that Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner is the key to passing immigration reform have been supported/reinforced by the former New York Times Executive Editor, Bill Keller in a New York Times Op-Ed .
This follows an article in the Times by Ashley Parker who reports secret meetings of House members from both parties working on an immigration reform plan that can pass the House.
The Times: “For the last six or seven years, there had been no one to partner with, but since Nov. 6 there’s been a lot of new dance partners, and that’s good,” said Representative Luis V. Gutierrez, (D-IL)…a member of the group. “The table is filling up with people, and people are talking and they’re having conversations.”
“In addition to Mr. Gutierrez, the chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’s immigration task force, those involved in the discussions, aides said, include Representatives Xavier Becerra (Stanford Law) and Zoe Lofgren (Santa Clara Law), both California Democrats; John Yarmuth, (Yale) Democrat of Kentucky; Representatives John Carter (U of Texas Law) and Sam Johnson (SMU), both Texas Republicans; Mario Diaz-Balart (U of South Florida), Republican of Florida; and Raúl R. Labrador (U of Washington Law), Republican of Idaho.”
Lofgren and Labrador were immigration lawyers before entering Congress. Two members are from California, two from Texas, one from Kentucky where Mexican illegal workers dominate the care of the famous horse racing industry. The Florida Congressman is from a family of Cuban immigrants. These are serious, experienced and knowledgeable people.
Here is how one sees their work: “The goal is to fix what’s broken, and it’s pretty clear that a lot is broken,” Representative Diaz-Balart… “Do we recognize that we have a problem with the borders? Yes. Do we recognize that we have a problem with our visa system, where people don’t leave the country? Yes. Do we recognize that we have kids who were brought here by their parents and that’s an issue we have to deal with? Yes. Do we recognize the need for agricultural workers? Yes.”
The group is so leak-proof that trusted-only staff knows what they are deliberating. We all knew beforehand what the Senate’s “Gang of Eight” would propose the day they announced their plan at a standing-room-only press conference.
We do not know if there is collaboration between these House members and Senators but Congressional experts know that a reform bill is most likely in the Senate because the bill (s) need only 7 to 12 Republican votes to pass the Senate. The House on the other hand is problematical because of opposition to legalization and a “path for citizenship. Opposition is vocal but based on emotion, fiction and urban myths to which as many as 60-70 Republican members subscribe.
On immigration reform there is a loud and hysterical cabal of radio/TV voices on the Right. There are some in the House whose basic support is from these voices and their audiences. Additionally they derive support from groups like Minutemen leftovers, the Ku Klux Klan, anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant groups, anti-Mexican and White Nationalist/White Supremacy groups.
Opposition “national” groups include — the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), its off-spring — the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and NumbersUSA, all founded and directed by one man. He is the most evil, odious bigot in America. His passions: Population Control, abortion and restricted immigration. John Tanton of Michigan led ZERO POPULATION GROWTH and local Planned Parenthood organizations before his anti-immigration/Mexican crusade.
There, then, is the struggle: respectable bi-partisan Senators and Congressmen with real immigration law experience from states heavily affected by people here illegally and a war hero (Johnson) who knows freedom (7 years as a prisoner of war); on the other hand, a faction composed of hysterical population-control freaks, racial and ethnic bigots and fanatics who breathe urban myths, fictions and legends.
For example, the ultra-conservative “American Thinker” magazine claims that this proposed legalization is suicide for the Republican Party. It posits that every single legalized person will take the proposed “path to citizenship” and all become Democrats, thus adding “11 to 20 million” new Democrats. However, Pew Research tells us that as only 40% of 1986 “amnestied” aliens ever became citizens, the numbers are out of whack to begin with.
“American Thinker” three fictions; one, there are “20 million illegal aliens” in-country and, two, that every single one will become Democrats, three, that they will all bring in their nephews/nieces and cousins when they become citizens thus inflating the number to 30-40-50 million people. They will not.
Speaker Boehner says of these House members working on immigration: “Frankly, I think they basically have an agreement.”
Boehner is the key — Bill Keller and I agree. If Speaker Boehner wants the House to pass immigration reform, it will.
Contreras’ books are available at amzon.com <http://amzon.com>