Immigration is a priority

The legislative debate about Syria may turn out to be a reason for the House of Representatives not to pass immigration reform this year.

It is true that the discussion about the U.S. response to the use of chemical weapons is taking up valuable time. But it is also true that the end of the year is only four months away and that lawmakers have fewer than 40 workdays scheduled in Washington.

It all depends on the importance that both the leadership and the majority of the Republican caucus place on fixing an immigration system that we all consider to be a failure.

At the top of the list of items demanding attention, in addition to Syria, are economic issues like the budget and the public debt, favorite subjects for Republicans in confrontations with the White House.

It is unfortunate that the dislike for a reform, like the one the Senate passed, is preventing some lawmakers from seeing the great benefits that a law of this kind would bring to the national coffers, as has been pointed out by a majority of independent analyses.

However, the aversion lawmakers have to any approach to immigration that is not punitive holds more weight than any benefit.

The hope is that the lower chamber approves an immigration bill that can the be reconciled with the Senate’s version, and that comprehensive reform legislation emerges from there. Everyone is aware of the positive impact immigration has, on taxes, the workforce and the retirement of Americans, among others. Therefore, if the economy and the deficit are the most important, immigration is also a priority.