According to The Hill yesterday evening, House Lawmakers Pull Immigration to the Right. That’s to be expected. As Idaho Republican Raul Labrador notes, “[There’re] a lot of things in the Senate bill that are right, but the reality is that the Senate is controlled by Democrats and the House is controlled by Republicans, and what you’re going to see out of the House is probably a more Republican bill.” There’s no problem with that thinking at all!
And that’s why it is so important for the Democratically controlled Senate to produce bills that maybe kind of sort of just a wee bit liberal. Instead, the Senate’s great compromise is that undocumented residents will be able to become citizens in a minimum of 13 years—that’s eight years of temporary legal status before they can get a Green Card. Compare that to conservative icon Ronald Reagan’s law: 18 months. Is this what we are supposed to think is a great liberal proposal? It isn’t even an acceptable liberal compromise. And that’s not even including all of the other right wing pro-business aspects of the bill.
But naturally, the House bill will have to be worse. According to The Hill, it will require 15 years. And remember, this is coming from a bipartisan group. What finally gets out of the House will be even worse. How about 25 years? 50 years? The maximum age that a human can live seems to be 124. So why not make it 125 years?! In fact, that would be perfect for Congress. They could pass a bill that doesn’t do a thing and still claim that they are doing something. A win-win!
Perhaps some day the Democratic Party will learn that if they put forward a proposal for a 3-year path to Green Card (which they could correctly argue is twice Reagan’s law), they might have ended up with a 5-year path. “But the Senate had to get past a filibuster!” Well whose fault is that? Regardless, even if they can’t pass legislation, the Democratic Party has to stand up and say, “We are for reasonable policies.” As long as they hurry to meet the Republicans in the middle, the conversation just moves further and further to the right.
And that’s how we got to this place. We need to get back to where we were in 1970 (at least). And we won’t get there by moving inch by inch to the right.