Will the immigration issue be resolved? It appears that a bipartisan Senate group has arrived at an agreement earlier today, according to reports from Politico. The only thing standing in the way of its passage are GOP members who have aligned themselves with the four pillars of immigration reform (border wall money, a path to citizenship for 1.8 million young immigrants, “chain migration”, and diversity lottery elimination) introduced by President Trump. The agreement would make provision for $25 billion in funding for the wall and border security that President Trump mentioned in his 2016 presidential campaign, in addition to, a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million immigrants. The agreement also provides restrictions on the possibility of citizenship for the parents of the immigrants. This is great news, right? Well, it should be, in consideration of the fact that both sides of the political aisle are receiving some of what they have been asking (demanding) of the other.
Although this may be true, Sen. John Cornyn (R- Tex.) stated that the measure does not “address two of the pillars that the president said he needed” before he would consider signing the bill. However, according to one of Sen. Cornyn’s GOP party members, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), if the broken immigration system is not fixed, then Congress and the past three presidential administrations will be the cause. The biggest problem lies in the fact that should the immigration pass through the Senate successfully, it runs the risk of being stalled in the House much like the budget measure from last week. This is largely due to House conservatives demanding that the House “ignore any deal that could emerge from the current Senate debate“.
As a result of this, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R -Wis.) is receiving enormous pressure from the House conservatives to stand behind President Trump’s immigration plan that most GOP conservatives support. Comments have also been made about the potential for Rep. Ryan losing the Speaker’s chair if he sides with a more moderate stance. This criticism comes in the face of Rep. Ryan supporting the bipartisan budget deal on last week.
Several Republicans were quick to remind Rep. Ryan of the focus of his campaign (deficit reform) and suggested inconsistency in his political stance. More importantly to House conservatives, this internal debate could threaten their ability to maintain control in either or both chambers as the nation prepares for mid-term elections this year. The GOP’s mindset seems to have become, “Whatever we decide to do must be done quickly”. This leads to the overarching question, “Where is the White House in all of this”?
Well, President Trump has made it quite clear that he wants to see his plan for immigration reform included in any measure provided by both chambers of Congress. He also mentioned that he would “oppose any bill that did not also embrace the four pillars (mentioned above)…” and “…a rewrite of the nation’s immigration laws that would close the country’s borders to many immigrants…” What does this mean for any bipartisan bill? It means that the bipartisan group working on this measure may not a completed legislative piece that is acceptable by their self-imposed deadline of this week’s end. In a hyperbolic moment, President Trump insisted that an “overwhelming majority of American voters support a plan that fulfills the Framework’s four pillars…” Although there may be a large number of American voters who agree with President Trump’s stance on immigration, there has not been a documented report to substantiate his claims.
With these reports in mind, it appears that the American people will be a witness to one of the most controversial debates in recent U.S. political history. How will it conclude? At this juncture, the conclusion is uncertain. How long will this be a matter of debate? This, too, is uncertain. One thing is certain, this will not be an easily resolved issue as long as there are members of both chambers of Congress using the immigration issue to cement their re-election bids during the mid-term elections. With all of this conflict and chaos over the issue, when the smoke clears, who is really the winner?
Sean Mungin, author of “The Thorn In The Flesh”