Only comprehensive reform

At the end of the day, the House should use the same strategy as the Senate

Immigration covers a broad range of complex economic, human and security interests. And the only way to combine these interests so that they are acceptable to everyone involved, even if not to their complete satisfaction, is through a negotiated comprehensive reform.

That is exactly the focus of the bipartisan bill of the Senate’s Gang of Eight. However, the House of Representatives seems to be going down a different road. Judiciary Committee Chair Bob Goodlatte decided to consider several individual aspects, starting with one bill for a temporary agricultural guest worker program and another making it mandatory for employers to use E-Verify.

Breaking up the legislation like this endangers the overhaul itself, because it would allow lawmakers to choose only what they want. This makes it possible to vote for more border security without discussing legalization, instead of putting everything in the same bag like the Senate did to achieve consensus.

Having individual measures and allowing the introduction of more bills—even the package that a bipartisan group of representatives is working on—opens the process. But it also extends it, indefinitely for now. This can be a strategy to tackle opposition to the reform in a positive way, or a delaying tactic to let the reform languish until it dies next year in the upcoming congressional elections.

We hope the strategy is the first one mentioned. That way, there will be solid support from Republican majority leaders for the deal reached by the House’s bipartisan group. Otherwise, a comprehensive reform will be unlikely to succeed if the Senate passes a comprehensive bill and the House only passes some measures that do not cover the broad spectrum of the immigration issue.