President, Senate, House Dems Moved Forward on Imm Reform: #TimeIsNow for House GOP

NDN applauds the introduction of H.R. 15, the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act,” yesterday by members of the House Democratic caucus.  At a time when Congress is doing little to endear itself to the American public, this proposed legislation shows a desire to work together for the wellbeing of not only the eleven million undocumented immigrants in this country but also the entire US workforce and economy. 

Why is this specific bill such an important tool for advancing the immigration reform debate?

  • As we have said before, we are closer than ever to a deal between our two parties.  Though introduced by Democrats, this bill is constructed from bipartisan measures.  It incorporates part of the Senate immigration bill S. 744 which passed out of the Judiciary Committee and the full Senate with broad bipartisan support, as well as H.R 1417, the Border Security Results Act, introduced by Chairman McCaul (R-TX) and passed unanimously out of the House Homeland Security Committee.  During this government shutdown and era of extreme partisan divide, the bill sponsors have intentionally incorporated language from Republicans to demonstrate this is one issue where finger-pointing and partisanship can no longer stand in the way of action.
  • As we previously stated, not only will this bill “improve border security and interior enforcement, resolve the issue of the 11 million undocumented immigrants living and working here in the US, improve the legal immigration system, smartly invest in expanding our trade with Mexico – we now know that it will also help improve the US economy, create jobs and significantly lower the budget deficit.”  The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicts that this bill will grow the economy, increasing federal revenues by $459 billion over the first decade, decreasing the federal deficit by almost a trillion dollars over the next two decades.
  • The introduction of the House border security bill in place of the Senate Corker-Hoeven amendment appears to signal the end of the “border surge,” otherwise derided as “militarization” or even “candy” thrown at the southwest border. The McCaul bill is a thoughtful alternative which seeks to increase border security according to the needs determined by involved agencies and border community stakeholders, while also facilitating legitimate cross-border trade and travel.

Wednesday, ahead of the press conference, long-time immigration champion Rep. Luis Gutierrez affirmed, Democrats “are more unified than ever” around immigration reform, but they will continue to reach across the aisle to Republicans to make sure that, backed by the broadest and strongest coalition of supporters around the country, Congress can pass meaningful comprehensive immigration reform.  Today, Rep. Gutierrez joined the list of 120 cosponsors of H.R. 15, and that list is expected to keep growing.

President Obama has made comprehensive immigration reform a top priority, the Senate passed its immigration bill with overwhelming bipartisan support in June, and now the House Democrats have proposed a bill incorporating bipartisan language.  All that remains is for the House Republicans to do their part.  We have defended the House GOP as being ready and willing to make a deal on immigration reform that will grow the national economy, shrink the deficit, and secure America’s workforce.  The time is now for them to prove it.