Baby steps best way to reform immigration

Sweeping reform of immigration law has been sidelined once again.

Last week, House Speaker John Boehner announced the House will not hold formal talks on the comprehensive immigration bill passed by the Senate earlier this year. So consider President Barack Obama’s supposed top second-term issue DOA for now.

“The idea that we’re going to take up a 1,300-page bill that no one had ever read, which is what the Senate did, is not going to happen in the House and frankly I’ll make clear we have no intention of ever going to conference on the Senate bill,” Boehner said.

Boehner’s bit of partisan rhetoric does contain a nod to the wisdom of not repeating the mistakes Congress and the Obama administration made in passing and implementing the Affordable Care Act. The disaster known as the Obamacare rollout should have taught Congress that you don’t pass a gargantuan bill now and read it later “so that you can find out what is in it.”

For those who do read it, the Senate immigration bill includes some odd details that really don’t belong in federal law, such as the hourly wage in 2016 for an agricultural sorter — $9.84 — and a nursery worker — $9.64.

Congress could try passing concise immigration bills covering specific areas in which they might find agreement, like providing guest worker permits or allowing children brought to America illegally by their parents to become eligible for citizenship if they graduate from high school and attend college or serve in the military for at least two years, i.e. the DREAM Act.

While Congress again and again puts off finding a comprehensive path to citizenship, more than 10 million immigrants here illegally wait for some resolution of their status.

Lawmakers should start taking baby steps that, who knows, might break the immigration logjam.

— Albuquerque Journal

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