ICYMI: Proud To Be Tweeting With #TNTweeters for Comprehensive #Immigration Reform

TNTweeters is a grassroots movement of Aspiring Americans dedicated to making Comprehensive Immigration Reform a reality.  I’m proud to stand with them because America needs to keep its borders secure, its workers employed and prosperous, its businesses globally competitive, and its families safe and together.

The American people want the House of Representatives to finish the job the Senate started and send President Obama immigration reform legislation that will give our country the safe, orderly and fair immigration system it so desperately needs.

ICYMI: The Devastation of Needless Deportations. #TNTweeters @americasvoice #immigration

It’s time for the House GOP leadership to stop delaying and fix the broken immigration system.  American families deserve to be safe and together.

Check out @Citizenship4All’s Discharge Petition Toolbox. #TNTweeters #Immigration

Courtesy of Alliance for Citizenship:

The discharge petition on HR 15 will be initiated tomorrow.  In advance of the roll out, please check out Alliance for Citizenship’s A4C Discharge Petition Toolkit.

Here is a re-print of a blog post from the Immigration Policy Center on how discharge petitions work and some background on previous successful discharge petitions:

The press is reporting that Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will file a discharge petition to bring HR 15, the bipartisan comprehensive immigration bill that has been languishing in the House since October, to the floor. A discharge petition is a procedural move that requires the signature of 218 House members; if successful it forces House leadership to bring a bill to the floor for a vote without first being passed out of committee.

Any House member can file a discharge petition if a committee has failed to act on a bill after 30 days. (HR 15 has been pending before several House committees since October.) But discharge petitions are an uphill battle, often filed by the minority party as a means to draw attention to inaction by House leadership. Consequently, of the hundreds of discharge petitions to have been filed in the House, only 22 have led to floor action on the measure. An even smaller number have become lawafter a discharge petition

Most recently, a successful discharge petition in 2002 led to the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act becoming law—one of the rare instances when a majority party member did not initiate the petition. After the Senate approved the McCain-Feingold campaign reform bill, a House committee approved a significantly weaker version of the bill and a rule requiring separate votes on each provision. The House rejected the committee’s proposed rule, and a week later, the discharge petition processbegan to bring up a House bill that was more similar to McCain-Feingold.

In recent weeks, Democratic House members have increasingly turned to the discharge petition to highlight issues stuck in committee, attempting to force a vote on extending unemployment insurance and to increase the federal minimum wage. Earlier this month, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said that it would be difficult to reach 218 signatures for HR 15 “because the Republicans generally won’t sign, but the fact [is] that it is there and the outside mobilization is saying all we want is a vote.”

The decision to go forward with the discharge petition—or as it is being called, the “give us a vote” petition, acknowledges that there is growing pressure throughout the country to resolve the immigration crisis. Activists are turning up the heat through events across the country, reinforcing the narrative that it is time for House leaders to allow a vote on legislation to improve the nation’s broken immigration policies.

CBO: HR15 Bipartisan House #immigration bill reduces deficit by $900b over 20 yrs

CBO_HR15 Analysis: the bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform legislation in the House will reduce the deficit by $900 billion over the next two decades – including $200 billion in the first decade alone.

H.R. 15 would revise laws governing immigration and the enforcement of those laws, allowing for a significant increase in the number of noncitizens who could lawfully enter the United States on both a permanent and temporary basis. Additionally, the bill would create a process for many individuals who are present in the country now on an unauthorized basis to gain legal status, subject to requirements specified in the bill. The bill also would directly appropriate funds for tightening border security and enforcing immigration laws, and would authorize additional appropriations for those purposes.

CBO and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) have not completed a full, comprehensive cost estimate for H.R. 15. However, the bill is quite similar to the version of S. 744 that was reported by the Senate Committee on the Judiciary in 2013 (and later amended and passed by the Senate). Based on that similarity, we expect that enacting H.R. 15 would have effects on the population and the federal budget that would be quite similar to those of the committee-reported version of S. 744. Specifically, we expect that enacting H.R. 15 would increase direct spending and revenues by about the same amounts as S. 744, for a net reduction in federal budget deficits of about $200 billion over the 2015-2024 period and significantly greater amounts in the decade following 2024.

In addition to the cost estimate for S. 744, CBO prepared an analysis of the overall economic impact of that bill and of the incremental federal budgetary effects of those changes in the economy that were outside the scope of the cost estimate for the bill. CBO has not prepared such an analysis for H.R. 15. However, based on the similarity of the legislation to the version of S. 744 that was reported by the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, we expect that enacting H.R. 15 would have effects on output and income that would be quite similar to those of the committee-reported version of S. 744. Among other effects, the legislation would probably boost economic output, increase average wages for the entire labor force after about a decade (but decrease them before that), raise the amount of capital investment, and increase the productivity of labor and capital. On balance, we expect that the economic effects of H.R. 15 that would not be included in the cost estimate would have no significant net effect on federal budget deficits during the coming decade and would reduce deficits by a significant additional amount during the following decade.

Comparison of the Provisions of H.R. 15 with Those of S. 744

In 2013, CBO transmitted two cost estimates for S. 744 (which was also entitled the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act)—for a committee-approved version and a Senate-passed version of the legislation. The budgetary effects of H.R. 15 would be quite similar to those of the committee-approved version of S. 744.

The first estimate for S. 744 was transmitted on June 18, 2013, and was for the version of the bill that was reported by the Senate Committee on the Judiciary on May 28, 2013, including the amendments made in the star print of June 6, 2013. In that cost estimate, CBO estimated that, under the bill, the population of the United States would increase by 10.4 million people, on net, by 2023 (10 years after assumed enactment) and that roughly 8 million unauthorized residents would initially gain legal status (because those people would already be in the United States, that change in status would not increase the U.S. population). CBO and JCT estimated that enacting the legislation would generate changes in direct spending and revenues that would decrease federal budget deficits by $197 billion over the 2014–2023 period.

The Senate amended S. 744 before passing it on June 27, 2013. CBO transmitted a letter summarizing its analysis of that version of S. 744 on July 3, 2013. For that Senate-passed version of the legislation, CBO estimated that the net population increase over the first 10 years after enactment would be 9.6 million people—800,000 fewer than estimated for the committee-approved version of S. 744. That reduction stemmed from an amendment that would directly appropriate an additional $38 billion for the security of the southern U.S. border (relative to such funding in the committee-approved version). As a result of that appropriation and the consequent budgetary effects of having fewer unauthorized residents in the country (as well as the effects of other amendments), CBO and JCT estimated that changes in direct spending and revenues under the Senate-passed version of S. 744 would decrease federal budget deficits by $158 billion over the 2014-2023 period.

H.R. 15 does not differ from the committee-reported version of S. 744 in any significant way; it differs from the Senate-passed version H.R. 15 of
S. 744 mostly because H.R. 15 does not include the additional $38 billion in funding for border security that was in that version of the Senate bill (although it includes some such funding).

Differences in Timeline and in CBO’s Baseline Projections

Although H.R. 15 and the committee-reported version of S. 744 are very similar, if CBO and JCT were to prepare a full, comprehensive cost estimate for H.R. 15 now, the estimated effects on population and the federal budget would differ modestly from the effects for S. 744 that were estimated last year—primarily because the assumed enactment date would be different and because CBO has updated its baseline projections. However, the differences arising from those factors and others would be small relative to the size and scope of the budgetary effects of the legislation. Thus, the budgetary effects of H.R. 15 would be quite similar to those of the committee-approved version of S. 744.

Last year’s cost estimate for S. 744 incorporated an assumption that the legislation would be enacted by the beginning of fiscal year 2014 and focused on the 10-year period from 2014 through 2023. For legislation that might be considered during the remainder of the current Congress, we would assume enactment near the start of fiscal year 2015 and focus on the 10-year period from 2015 through 2024. That shift in the timeline would have only a small impact on the estimated effects of the legislation on federal budget deficits through changes in direct spending and revenues. In addition, the shift would reduce estimated discretionary spending under the bill’s specified authorizations, but only by about $1 billion. That reduction would occur because those authorizations generally applied to the 2014-2018 period, which was the five-year period following the assumed enactment of S. 744, and authorizations for 2014 would not lead to spending if the bill was enacted near the start of fiscal year 2015.

The updates to CBO’s baseline projections (which incorporate the assumption that current laws will generally be unchanged) reflect updated forecasts for inflation, average benefits to be provided through various federal programs, and other factors. Those updates would have only a small impact on the estimated effects of the legislation on direct spending and revenues because most of the revisions to the baseline projections were fairly small.

Budgetary Effects in the Second Decade Following Enactment

CBO expects that H.R. 15—like S. 744—would lead to a significant reduction in federal budget deficits during the second decade after enactment (as well as during the first decade after enactment). CBO estimated that the committee-reported version of S. 744 would generate changes in direct spending and revenues that would reduce deficits by about $700 billion over that second decade. In light of the considerations discussed above, CBO expects that the budgetary effects of H.R. 15 during that second decade would be quite similar.

.@GOPLeader Cantor’s March-April memo, still no #immigration reform. #TNTweeters

GOP Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s memo to House Republicans outlining the March-April 2014 Legislative Agenda is full of empty rhetoric but sadly–for the American people–fails to include immigration reform legislation.

Despite the fact that poll after poll show that the American people–Republicans, Democrats and Independents–want the House GOP to stop dithering and start fixing the immigration system, Cantor apparently doesn’t think immigration reform is important enough to put on the GOP “to-do” list.

It’s high time the House Republicans stop playing partisan politics with America’s future and start working for the American people.

What Does it Mean that Sen. Menendez and Janet Murguía Called on President Obama to Roll Back Deportations? Short-term Heartburn for the White House and Long-term Disaster for the GOP

Washington, DC – During last evening’s 2014 NCLR Capital Awards dinner, Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and NCLR President Janet Murguía both made impassioned pleas to President Obama to roll back the deportation machinery that rips families apart on a daily basis.  Without a doubt, this will increase pressure on the Obama Administration to take bold executive action.  But while it means short-term heartburn for the White House, it spells long-term disaster for the Republican Party.

 Here’s why.  If House Republicans decide to play politics and block immigration reform, then the window of opportunity for floor action on immigration reform this year will close, and House Republican inaction will effectively cede the initiative to President Obama.  This would undoubtedly lead to the President using his pen and phone to take bold executive action on behalf of millions of undocumented immigrants who are low priorities for detention and deportation.  Recent history provides a template – in 2010 Republicans blocked the DREAM Act; in 2011 advocates and Capitol Hill allies pressured the President to take administrative action (including a notable moment at a NCLR conference); and in 2012 the President provided relief to more than a half million Dreamers through the DACA program.  This not only helped real people, it helped President Obama reap political rewards.

As we have noted, there is little chance that immigration reform will be easier in 2015 for Republicans, despite the wishful thinking and recent comments of some.  The next time immigration reform has a serious chance of passage is on the other side of the 2016 elections – an election cycle in which the Republicans are risking an electoral tsunami if they block immigration reform this year.

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “It’s now or never for the Republican Party.  They either act in the first half of this year or squander an historic opportunity to shape immigration policy and win political credit.  They either respond to the strong public support for reform, or they can forget about their ballyhooed ‘rebranding’ effort with the fastest growing groups of voters in America.  They either get right on immigration reform this year or risk the party’s political future.  For once the President acts administratively to protect millions of undocumented immigrants, it is predictable that reform advocates will opt to wait on moving forward with a renewed push for immigration reform legislation for when Democrats control the White House and both chambers of Congress.”

Here’s what Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), one of the most prominent immigration reform champions in the U.S. Senate, said at last night’s dinner:

“While we continue waiting for the House of Representatives to wake up and move on immigration reform legislation, I urge the President to take action today and halt needless deportations that are splitting apart our families and communities…the current deportation apparatus is an outrage and it’s a tragedy.”

As the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent captures today, “If the discharge petition Dems will employ to force a House vote on immigration reform fails, the pressure will rapidly intensify on the President to act, since it would confirm once again Republicans have no intention of acting this year.  You could see more senior Dems in Congress stepping forward as Menendez has now done.”

Here are some excerpts of what NCLR President Janet Murguía said in her keynote address last night:

“Any day now, this Administration will reach the two million mark for deportations.  It is a staggering number that far outstrips any of his predecessors and leaves behind it a wake of devastation for families across America.  Many groups, including NCLR, have long been calling on the president to mitigate the damage of these record deportations.  But again we hear no.  The president says his administration does not have the authority to act on its own.

“Nearly half of those being deported are simply hardworking people who have put down roots in their communities and have employers who count on them.  Most have been here more than a decade.  One out of every four deportees is the parent of a child who is a U.S. citizen.  Hundreds of thousands of these children, our children, are being deprived of their mother or father—and very often the family’s only breadwinner.  It will take generations to heal the harm caused by inaction.  So, yes.  We respectfully disagree with the president on his ability to stop unnecessary deportations.  He can stop tearing families apart.  He can stop throwing communities and businesses into chaos.  He can stop turning a blind eye to the harm being done.  He does have the power to stop this.  Failure to act will be a shameful legacy for his presidency.  But we cannot rely on administrative relief alone.  It’s important and it’s needed, but it is also limited and temporary.  We do a grave disservice to our community and to ourselves if we focus on only one front in this battle.  Only Congress can deliver a broad, inclusive, and lasting solution.”

Said Sharry, “The window of opportunity is closing for the Republican Party.  Do they realize the stakes?  If they care about surviving as a viable national political party, they better.”

Follow Frank Sharry and America’s Voice on Twitter: @FrankSharry and @AmericasVoice

America’s Voice — Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform 

After Latest Judicial Setback, Anti-Immigrant Strategy in Shambles @americasvoice #TNTweeters

For Immediate Release:                                                         Contact: Michael Earls
March 4, 2014                                                                                       202-494-8555


After Latest Judicial Setback, Anti-Immigrant Strategy  in Shambles


Washington, DC – After its latest judicial setback, the anti-immigrant movement’s strategy for long-term victory is in disarray.


The centerpiece of their strategy, developed by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Mark Krikorian at the Center for Immigration Studies, Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX), and Representative Steve King (R-IA), has been to block immigration reform at the federal level while advancing what they called “attrition through enforcement” and what Mitt Romney called “self-deportation” policies in the states.  Essentially, their bet was that state and local governments could make life so miserable for undocumented immigrants that they pack their bags and leave the country voluntarily.  After the latest round of judicial rulings against this approach yesterday, it is clear that the key offensive component of this strategy is in a shambles.


The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday declined to hear appeals from two towns who had enacted Draconian, anti-immigrant ordinances.  The Court’s announcement means that appeals court rulings striking down anti-immigrant laws in Hazleton, PA and Farmers Branch, TX will stand.  In South Carolina, the state agreed to a settlement with groups who had filed a lawsuit challenging South Carolina’s SB20 law, which had authorized state and local police to rely on “reasonable suspicion” to check the immigration status of suspects – a practice that amounts to state-sanctioned racial profiling.  Yesterday, South Carolina accepted an opinion by the state Solicitor General that determined that police could not extend regular traffic stops to check immigration status.  This comes on the heels of past rulings that dealt major blows to the anti-immigrant laws passed by Arizona and Alabama.  And as anti-immigrant laws are being halted, new progressive, pro-immigrant laws are being adopted (see California and Washington state for recent examples).


In fact, the only place where the anti-immigrant extremists still have clout is in the Republican-controlled House where the only immigration vote taken this session was on a Steve King measure to defund the DACA program and subject DREAMers to deportation.


According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “Congratulations to the movement’s litigators, who have successfully fought back against a pernicious strategy aimed at driving millions of hard working immigrant families out of the country.  The latest rulings skewer the self-deportation strategy of the increasingly marginalized get-rid-of-them-all crowd.  Now it’s up to Congress to deliver a permanent solution and the President to do what he can to roll back deportations in the meantime.”


Follow Frank Sharry and America’s Voice on Twitter: @FrankSharry and @AmericasVoice

America’s Voice — Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform 




Unpacking the GOP’s Weak Excuses for #Immigration Inaction HT @americasvoice #TimeIsNow

For Immediate Release:                                         Contact:  Michael Earls
February 18, 2014                                                                   202-494-8555; press@americasvoiceonline.org 


Unpacking the GOP’s Weak Excuses for Immigration Inaction

And Why Relentless Demographics & Political Implications Will Win Out


Washington, DC – Below, America’s Voice offers our assessment of some of the recent developments in the immigration reform debate.


Three reasons why the Republicans’ latest excuses for blocking immigration reform are transparently weak:


  1. 1.      The Votes Exist in the House to Pass Immigration Reform Right Now: Last week’s House vote on the debt-ceiling again demonstrated that a “governing majority” does exist in the House to pass priority legislation.  The so-called “Hastert rule,” the supposed ironclad rule that only bills receiving support from the majority of the majority move forward, is now officially the “Hastert excuse” – the debt-ceiling vote was the fifth instance this Congress in which Speaker Boehner ignored it.  On immigration, the votes exist to pass reform, if Speaker Boehner allowed a vote to occur.


  1. 2.      If It’s a Political Calculation, Why Aren’t House Republicans Acting on Immigration?  Per the Washington Post, House Republicans are openly stating that they will not pursue “big-ticket” legislation like immigration reform this year and will instead prioritize “calming divisions,” avoiding “intraparty drama,” and building “Republicans’ ground game ahead of November’s midterm elections.”  The open acknowledgment that political implications are driving their legislative strategy begs a larger question – why focus on such short-term political scenarios when the 2016 and longer-term political implications are strongly in favor of passing immigration reform?  If the Post report is true and House Republicans continue to block immigration reform, this means that only immigration floor action that House Republicans will have taken this Congress will be their vote in favor of anti-immigrant extremist Steve King’s (R-IA) amendment to defund the DACA program and subject DREAMers to deportation.  Not exactly a strong rebuke of the GOP’s recent “self-deportation” past.  Plus, the idea that Republicans will hurt their 2014 chances by pursuing reform is misguided.  As former NRSC executive director Rob Jesmer recently said to Greg Sargent of the Post, “The idea that someone who is sitting at home mad at the president about Obamacare is going to wake up in October and say, ‘I’m really mad that Republicans voted to solve the immigration mess, so I’m not going to vote’ — I just find that to be ridiculous.”  


  1. 3.      Wait ‘Til 2015? Not Going to Happen: The notion that Republicans can block immigration reform in 2014, but take the issue back up in 2015 is a non-starter, despite numerous House Republicans making this assertion recently.  As Senator John McCain (R-AZ) said on CNN last Sunday, “To wait until 2015 when we’re involved in Republican primaries, obviously, would not be a viable scenario.”  And the Wall Street Journal recently editorialized that “the opponents will raise the same furor whenever it comes up, and Democrats will be less likely to compromise figuring they can use the issue to drive minority voter turnout in 2016.”


Despite the continued House Republican obstruction to reform, here are three reasons why we think immigration reform is coming:


  1. 1.      The American Public Strongly Backs Immigration Reform & Republican Voters are Surprisingly Supportive: The American public broadly and consistently backs immigration reform with a path to citizenship, with Republican voters more pro-reform and pragmatic on the issue than conventional wisdom suggests.  As a new Gallup poll finds, public sentiment is moving even more in a pro-reform direction, with Americans placing equal importance on a plan to deal with the undocumented population and border security measures.  As Gallup notes in its poll summary, this “is a shift from the past, when Americans were consistently more likely to rate border security as extremely important.”  Meanwhile, key constituencies like the American Farm Bureau and in-state business leaders (see this op-ed from Nebraska, for example) continue to speak out about the need for reform and the policy consequences of inaction.  And Latino voters’ political engagement and behavior remains closely tied to immigration reform debate (see this recent summary of Latino voter polling on immigration from Latino Decisions).  With both overall public sentiment and the intensity factor on the side of the pro-reform movement, it’s only a matter of time before that wins out.


  1. 2.      The Demographics are Relentless and the Political Consequences of Inaction are Severe: Republican obstruction to immigration reform would cement their anti-immigrant brand to the fastest-growing segments of the electorate, meaning that their prospects of re-taking the White House in 2016 and beyond will be imperiled.  As John Feehery, a former House leadership aide and current Republican consultant, recently noted, “If we don’t pass immigration reform this year, we will not win the White House back in 2016, 2020 or 2024.”  Beyond the presidency, observers are increasingly noting that immigration could harm Republicans’ chances in a host of 2016 down-ballot races as well.  For example, Republicans will be defending 24 Senate seats in 2016 – seven in states carried by Obama – while Democrats need only to defend 10 seats.  A filibuster-proof majority is possible.  Republican inaction in 2014 could mean the GOP is doomed as a national party in 2016 and beyond.


  1. 3.      Pressure on President Obama to Take Executive Action is Rising, and GOP Inaction in 2014 Will Virtually Guarantee He Will Exercise it:  If House Republicans block a legislative fix to immigration in 2014, pressure will only grow on President Obama to take executive action to suspend deportations for those who would qualify for legalization under pending legislation.  Already, the President’s allies and immigration activists are providing a preview of what’s to come if legislation remains blocked.  At the recent House Democratic retreat, several lawmakers asked the President about relief for parents of DREAMers and administrative efforts to encourage re-unification of families separated by deportations.  Meanwhile, as MSNBC highlighted, approximately “30 religious leaders, immigrants, and supporters holding signs and singing songs in protest to President Obama’s deportation policy were arrested outside the north gate of the White House,” in a protest organized by the United Methodist Church and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) yesterday.  If the GOP blocks reform and the President delivers on executive relief, it would inject the issue into the Republican presidential primary cycle, burnish the President’s legacy among Latino and Asian-American voters and box the Republican Party in politically – much like President Obama’s DACA announcement did in June 2012.


Follow Frank Sharry and America’s Voice on Twitter: @FrankSharry and @AmericasVoice

America’s Voice — Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform




Conservative voices on the need for #immigration reform in 2014. H/T @pwolgin @CAPimmigration

Courtesy of the Center For American Progress

Republicans Talking to Republicans: Lean In and Do Immigration Reform



Last week House Republicans released a statement of principles on immigration reform, including, for the first time, an endorsement of legalization for unauthorized Americans. But just yesterday House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) argued that it would be difficult to actually move a bill, stating that House Republicans did not trust that President Obama will enforce the laws. At this point Republicans are no longer making an argument about policy—even Speaker Boehner acknowledges that immigration reform needs to happen—but instead they are making a cynical political judgment that it is better for them to put off immigration reform, and instead focus on the November election.


Not all Republicans believe that ignoring immigration reform is a good thing, and below are responses from party leaders and thinkers making the case that Republicans must act on immigration reform, and the sooner they do, the better.


Demographic/Electorate Urgency Response:

Whit Ayres (GOP Pollster):

  • “If Republicans wait until 2015 to tackle this issue, that puts a very emotional and controversial issue right in the middle of the Republican presidential selection process,” “The opportunity for demagoguery will be exceedingly prevalent if we wait that long.” Washington Post – January 31, 2014
  • “The people who believe that 2014 is not the right year are also likely to believe that 2015 is not the right year and 2016 is not the right year,” he said. “And before you know it, the hole we’ve started digging with Hispanics gets deeper and deeper.” Reuters – February 6, 2013
  • “As we saw in 2012, just by virtue of having this debate, we alienate the fastest growing portion of the electorate.” “That could result in us starting the next general election on our heels.” Washington Post – January 31, 2014
  • “If you subscribe to the theory that there are fundamental demographic challenges the GOP must sooner or later address, then it’s better not to postpone this. There really is no good time to eat your vegetables.” Daily Caller – January 31, 2014
  • “There will always be people [who have] different reasons for opposing the change. We have a history in this country of demagoguery when it comes [to immigration]. You know, ‘Irish Need Not Apply.’ There’s nothing new going on today that’s gone on before. This isn’t the first time that there’s been some ugliness around the issue of immigration.” BuzzFeed – January 29, 2014
  • “Here’s what I don’t get: When you ask primary voters in a poll would support a pathway to citizenship where you have to learn English, pay a fine and go to the back of the line, it’s 60% in South Carolina,” Graham said. “Nationally, it’s over 70% … it seems through polling, if nothing else, that the Republican Party gets it.” BuzzFeed – January 29, 2014
  • “My theory is that we can win in 2014 without resolving [immigration]. We can’t win in 2016 without resolving it.” National Journal – January 5, 2014
  • “Whether Republicans understand the nature of the challenges they face–and if they do how they intend to deal with them and who will emerge from their ranks to lead them–will go a long way toward determining the future of their party and their country.” Commentary Magazine – February 6, 2014
  • (In response to anti-immigrant comments from the Republican candidate for Texas governor: “I think it’s inappropriate to be shortsighted in terms of achieving political office now and not farsighted in terms of what is best for the Republican Party in the next 10 to 15 to 20 years.” New York Times – February 6, 2014
  • “If you are against the fastest-growing voting bloc in the country, you and your party don’t have a future.” Huffington Post – January 25, 2014
  • “It’s hard to predict the future with great exactitude, but I will tell you this:  If we don’t pass immigration reform this year, we will not win the White House back in 2016, 2020 or 2024.” The Feehery Theory – February 6, 2014
  • “There is a penalty for not doing something.” “The longer this delays, the harder it is for Republicans to build bridges with a very important voting bloc.” Reuters – February 6, 2014
  • “The Republican Party has to take the long view when it comes to appealing to the Hispanic voting bloc. This is more than just launching a Spanish-language website or finding more Spanish speakers among party leaders.” The Feehery Theory – January 27, 2014
  • Boehner “created an expectation in the public and with the Latino public. We expect him to follow through,” Aguilar said. “But if they don’t deal with it, we will be handicapped, whoever is the candidate in 2016.” LA Times – February 6, 2014
  • “The reality is no Republican will take the White House again if Hispanics voted the way they voted in 2012.” “The electorate is changing. There are not enough older, whiter voters, and Republicans have to realize that.” Wall Street Journal – February 6, 2014
  • “If the party doesn’t reach out affirmatively to the immigrant communities, we’re going to be a shrinking minority,” Wall Street Journal – February 6, 2014

Patrick Hynes (GOP Strategist, Campaign Advisor for McCain and Romney):

Matthew Lewis (Conservative columnist):

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R–SC):

Sen. John Cornyn (R–TX):

Peter Wehner (GOP Policy Advisor/ Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center):

Hector de Leon (Chairman of Associated Republicans of Texas):

Michael Bloomberg (Former Mayor of NYC):

John Feehery (GOP Analyst):

Alfonso Aguilar (Executive Director of Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles):

Ari Fleischer (Former GOP Press Secretary):

John Rowe (GOP Fundraiser):




Action Must/Will Happen on Immigration:


Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA):

  • “The fact that we have the principles out, that there are a number of members that are co-authoring bills and that it’s part of our conference agenda. I would say very likely.” AP – February 4, 2014
  • “Day after the 2012 election, I said it’s time for Congress and the president to deal with this very important issue,” Boehner said at a morning news conference. “I think it’s time to deal with it.” Roll Call – January 30, 2014
  • “It’s not clear sailing, but the ‘heck no’ caucus is quiet, smaller then it was perceived to be.” AP – February 4, 2014
  • “If they really want to address this, I think we can find ways to work together.” “If they don’t want to make it a political issue. I said ‘nope’ kind of tongue-in-cheek, but it seems like maybe the administration is ready to kind of reach out and work with us.” Huffington Post – January 30, 2014
  • “I’m not worried. I’ll just do what the right thing is at the right time and we’ll see how this debate shapes out,” Kinzinger told reporters. CNN – January 30, 2014
  • “We’ve got all kinds of factions in our party.” “We are moving in the right direction. Right now, I see that the train is on its tracks and it’s moving forward.” Bloomberg – January 30, 2014
  • “This is the right time, and we hope that they seize the moment.”  Washington Post – January 24, 2014
  • “It’s probably a good political move. That’s great.” “There’s been willingness on the part of the president, it looks like, and Democratic leadership, to work. And certainly Republican senators will work with them.” National Journal – February 5, 2014
  • “It has been allusive, but I think we are closer than ever to getting that done.” “And I am optimistic that we will be able to get it done this year.” Voxxi – January 31, 2014
  • “There’s a consensus that the system is broken and I’m seeing more and more a desire to fix it.” “Speaker Boehner has been very clear, leadership has been very clear. We’re going to do it methodically, that we’re going to look at it case by case, step by step, we’re not going to rush it.” FoxNews  – January 30, 2014
  • “We have a problem: the laws governing the immigration system are broken. The system is working. We’re now in an important debate about reforming those laws. And that’s good.” C-Span – January 30, 2014
  • “Speaking with CNN‘s Candy Crowley Sunday morning, Jindal argued that the GOP is better off working on an immigration overhaul now, rather than waiting until after the 2014 elections.” Washington Examiner – February 2, 2014
  • “You see in our party, whether it’s [Kentucky Senator] Rand Paul, who’s called for massive immigration reform, or [Florida Senator] Marco Rubio, I think you have general consensus that something big has to happen.”  Washington Times – February 6, 2014
  • “For the Congress not to deal with immigration is indefensible” Politico – January 15, 2014
  • “I don’t agree with the attitude that we can and should wait until next year to pass an immigration reform bill.  To deal with the matter of not trusting this President, I have a pretty simple solution:  Make the major provisions of the law go into effect after he leaves office.  It will take at least a couple years to implement the new systems and write the new regulations any way.  Just delay that process until the President is out of office.  Some Republicans will ask: how can we make sure that we trust the next President?  How will we know if Hillary Clinton or Jeb Bush will do what we say on immigration?  It’s hard to predict the future with great exactitude, but I will tell you this:  If we don’t pass immigration reform this year, we will not win the White House back in 2016, 2020 or 2024.” The Feehery Theory – February 6, 2014

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH):

Grover Norquist (GOP Advocate. Founder of Americans for Tax Reform)

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL):

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL):

Carlos Gutierrez (GOP Secretary of Commerce):

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ):

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL):

George W. Bush (Former President):

Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA):

Reince Priebus (RNC Chairman):

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN):

John Feehery (GOP Analyst):


Direct Responses to the Republican “Principles”:


Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA):

  • “The fact that we have the principles out, that there are a number of members that are co-authoring bills and that it’s part of our conference agenda. I would say very likely,” Denham told reporters. AP – February 4, 2014
  • “If you legalize somebody without a pathway to citizenship, you’re creating, in essence, a class of people that have no chance of becoming citizens,” Kinzinger said. NPR – January 31, 2014
  • “Kudos to @SpeakerBoehner and @HouseGOP for putting forward principles for #immigrationreform.”  Twitter – January 30, 2014
  •  “The Senate included a pathway to citizenship. That’s what I prefer, and I think the Senate prefers in general.” “The House may say that those who are here illegally can access current avenues to citizenship, but no special path would be created. That would be a kind of hybrid that might win the day. I think that that’s a step forward. I think that’s something that the president could and would accept.” PBS – January 30, 2014
  • “I think it’s very constructive. I think the Speaker has laid out some very strong conservative principles on dealing with immigration reform and making sure the United States has to have working legal system, a secure border, and interior enforcement.” MSNBC – January 30, 2014
  • “I just think when you know something isn’t working, you got to take it head on. That’s why I think the Speaker put these conservative principles out. And on the principles themselves, I think there were very few specific arguments against them.” MSNBC – January 30, 2014
  • “The principles from the House were helpful. It’s up to the House to decide what they want to do.” “If the House acts, we’ll see what happens.” The Hill – February 4, 2014
  • “I applaud Speaker Boehner and the GOP leadership team for proposing common sense principles the House Republican conference can agree on to reform our nation’s immigration system and strengthen security along our borders. The principles introduced today represent a positive step in the right direction. I am hopeful that the House will complete this work over the next few months. As Speaker Boehner has made clear, the House will move at its own pace and work through its own process, a prerogative I respect and support. I look forward to working with my colleagues at the appropriate time to move forward on this important issue.” McCain website – January 30, 2014
  • “They’re coming up with principles, and both parties are saying the right thing.” “This is the right time, and we hope that they seize the moment.”  Washington Post – January 24, 2014
  • “I am encouraged by the release of these principles, which hopefully will spark action in the House of Representatives to finally address our nation’s broken immigration system,” Bishop Elizondo said. USCCB – January 30, 2014

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL):

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ):

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL):

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC):

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ):

Carlos Gutierrez (former Secretary of Commerce):

Bishop Elizando (Chair of US Conference of Catholic Bishops):

Republican #Immigration Principles: A Step Toward Reform

Posted today on The Hill Congress Blog

The good news is that the glass is half full.

Thursday’s release of the Republican “immigration Reform Principles” is promising because it shows that Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and the House leadership are finally thinking about positive solutions to fix America’s broken immigration system.

It’s also very encouraging that while the GOP plainly stated they will not go to conference with the Senate’s bill, their reform principles largely mirror the Senate’s, including keeping the borders secure, preventing bad actor employers from hiring undocumented workers, providing a temporary worker program, overhauling the visa system, and providing DREAMERs with a roadmap to legalization.  Most importantly, GOP talking points no longer include “self-deportation”, a mean-spirited policy proposal championed by anti-immigrant restrictionists.

Even when it comes to providing a pathway to legal status for the country’s 11 million unauthorized immigrants the Republicans seem to be signaling their intent to roll up their sleeves and get to work on an immigration overhaul that will move America forward.  True, the GOP principles include a seemingly firm declaration that there will be “no special path to citizenship”.  But as someone who makes his living parsing through the convoluted immigration law in search of immigrants’ rights, I interpret placement of the word “special” after the word “No” as a statement that a “path to citizenship” –even if it’s not “special—might be acceptable to the GOP as they work with immigration reform advocates to find common ground.  This is critical because it suggests the Republicans are seriously interested solving the Nation’s immigration problems.

In fact, when you think about it, the GOP’s “no special path to citizenship” assertion may not be all that different from the immigration bill passed by the Senate last year.  The Senate’s plan requires that undocumented immigrants spend a minimum of 10 years as “Registered Provisional Immigrants” before they can apply for green cards.  Once they get their green cards—which can only happen after certain enforcement triggers are met and the immigration backlogs have cleared—the new legal  permanent residents must wait another three years to apply for U.S. citizenship under the existing law. In other words, the Senate immigration bill does not include any “special” pathway to citizenship either.

If the GOP is proposing to provide undocumented immigrants with legal immigration status which will protect them from deportation and give them a chance to apply for green card status through the normal legal channels that might not necessarily be a deal killer either.  Of course for that to work the legal immigration system will have to be revamped to provide realistic attainable legal avenues for people to qualify.  Under current law most foreign nationals who don’t have a close US citizen family member or highly skilled job have no access to a green card.

Of more concern is the GOP’s statement that “none of this can happen before specific enforcement triggers have been implemented”.  It’s not clear what they mean by this.  But if the GOP is going to insist on unreachable triggers what they are essentially saying is, “We’re not interested in immigration reform, comprehensive, piecemeal, or otherwise any time soon.”

Hopefully the Republicans will soon offer concrete, detailed legislation which fills in the gaps and answers the serious questions raised by the Statement of Principles released Thursday evening.  Yet it’s very encouraging that they are finally recognizing our Nation desperately needs immigration reform; that we cannot continue to tear apart American families because of a broken immigration system; and that a robust and healthy immigration policy will add billions of dollars to America’s economy and create good jobs for US workers. If the House Republicans are serious about immigration reform—and I believe that they are—then they’ve given the country a Statement of Principles that can be worked with and improved upon.

In meantime one thing is clear.  The House Republicans are late to the party.  It’s time they get moving on real legislation!

Leopold is a former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Associaiton.

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