By Columnist Jim Kouri
Even though an immigration reform bill passed through the U.S. Senate with relative ease and bipartisan support, both Democrats and Republicans in the House of Representatives are taking a long, hard look at the so-called “path to citizenship” which may be a sticking point in passing legislation in the House, according to several experts and lawmakers on Sunday morning’s news shows.
A number of conservative groups are opposed to the Senate bill’s proposal involving eventual citizenship for more than 11 million illegal aliens, most of whom are Mexican or citizens of other Latin American countries.
The Border Patrol union has been outspoken about its opposition to Obama’s agenda and the “path to citizenship” that rewards lawbreakers.
“Republican congressmen will not accept a bill that contains a pathway to citizenship that favors illegal aliens over foreign nationals waiting for a chance to legally enter the United States,” according to Michael Baker, a political strategist.
He noted that conservatives – Democrat and Republican – would be willing to pass nothing at all if it creates an unfair advantage for men and women who began their relationship with the U.S. by breaking its laws.
On Sunday’s “State of the Union” on CNN, Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., said he wasn’t certain that the measure that passed with bipartisan support in the upper chamber would be so easily affirmed in the lower, more conservative chamber.
“They can pick it to death.” Grijalva said of Republican lawmakers, speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
But Grijalva’s remarks were blasted by Congressman Steve King, R-Iowa, who is on record of opposing any legislation that rewards lawbreakers with the promise of citizenship.
“It’s a mistake for Republicans to believe the election was about immigration,” King said on “Fox News Sunday.”
“I don’t remember a debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney on immigration. I remember waking up the morning of the 7th of November, after the election, and hearing immigration was the reason that Mitt Romney wasn’t president-elect on that day,” said King.
Meanwhile Rep. Bob Goodlatte, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and therefore a key Republican lawmaker, has always opposed a path to citizenship, but he indicated he might be open to the idea.
He said on C-Span TV on Thursday that he would be open to a path for illegal aliens to “come out of the shadows,” pay taxes and work legally in the United States, but stopped short of saying they’d ultimately receive citizenship.
Goodlatte also signed onto a Republican statement by House members regarding the Senate’s immigration bill:
“Today House Republicans affirmed that rather than take up the flawed legislation rushed through the Senate, House committees will continue their work on a step-by-step, common-sense approach to fixing what has long been a broken system. The American people want our border secured, our laws enforced, and the problems in our immigration system fixed to strengthen our economy.
“But they don’t trust a Democratic-controlled Washington, and they’re alarmed by the president’s ongoing insistence on enacting a single, massive, Obamacare-like bill rather than pursuing a step-by-step, common-sense approach to actually fix the problem. The president has also demonstrated he is willing to unilaterally delay or ignore significant portions of laws he himself has signed, raising concerns among Americans that this 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.”
Jim Kouri, CPP, the fifth Vice President and Public Information Officer of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, has served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country.
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