Immigration Reform Enters Critical New Arena as House GOP Gathers to Discuss Immigration Reform

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Republicans in the U.S. House met on Wednesday to discuss how they will approach immigration reform.

The U.S. Senate voted to pass a bill late last month, which includes a pathway to citizenship for an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the country. The bill also further militarizes our border regions, mandating tougher border security provisions that need to be set into place before our current immigrant population can gain legal status.

House GOP leaders, including U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul (R, TX-10, at right), the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, have stated they will not support the Senate's measures.  

Read more below the jump.Last Sunday during an interview  with CBS' “Face The Nation,” McCaul mocked the Senate's bipartisan bill and compared it to throwing candy at the border without actually offering a smart border approach. McCaul also suggested that a House bill could potentially be very different from the one passed in the Senate, as the House will likely opt to instead “do their own thing.”

After Wednesday's meeting, House GOP leaders, including Speaker John Boehner, issued a joint statement claiming the Obama administration “cannot be trusted to deliver on its promises to secure the border and enforce laws as part of a single, massive bill like the one passed by the Senate.” The joint statement also compared the Senate's bipartisan bill to Obamacare. While the House GOP may be divided on the issue of immigration, they have made their stance clear in being united against the Senate and President Obama.

President Obama continues to ramp up pressure on the House to take action and pass immigration reform. Before the House GOP met Wednesday afternoon, Obama held his own meeting that morning with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC). They gathered at the White House to discuss efforts being made by the Administration. Early Wednesday, the White House released a new report pointing out the economic benefits of enacting the Senate's bipartisan bill. The analysis shows an increase in gross domestic product, more job creation, job growth, and a decrease in budget deficits. Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairman Ruben Hinojosa (D – TX), has previously stated the CHC will “not support any bill that does not include a pathway to earned citizenship.”

Weighing in on this debate is former President George W. Bush, who is a longtime advocate for immigration reform. “I think it's very important to fix a broken system, to treat people with respect, and have confidence in our capacity to assimilate people,” he told ABC's “This Week” during an interview last week. He did not, however, suggest or specifically support any current policy being debated in Congress. When asked if failure to pass immigration reform by Republicans would hurt the GOP, he stated that the reason to pass immigration reform is not to bolster the GOP, but to fix a broken system. Bush was unable to get an overhaul passed when he was president.

Immigration has caught Republicans in a very difficult spot.

After a very costly 2012 presidential election, when President Obama managed to capture over 70% of the Latino vote, Republicans immediately felt a sudden urgency for the national party to expand its appeal to minorities and broaden their party's base. Yet the House GOP is also facing pressure from constituents in gerrymandered, largely safe conservative districts, many who continue to resist a large immigration reform push. With midterm elections coming up — if a comprehensive immigration reform bill were to successfully pass under their leadership — the House GOP will simply return home to face even more uncertainties.

Through their political schemes and complete disregard of minority voters, the GOP seems to have successfully led themselves well deep into an inevitable lose-lose situation. In the words of our own good old Gov. Tricky Ricky, “Oops.”

About Author

Omar Araiza

Staff writer Omar Araiza covers immigration, Latino voters, the U.S.-Mexico border, and LGBT issues. Omar is a proud South Texas native, born and raised in the lower Rio Grande Valley. He tweets from @AraizaTX.

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