Waiting for immigration reform

The possibility for immigration reform is still exclusively in the hands of the House of Representatives and is at the mercy of the internal divisions within the Republican caucus. This has led to messages that just toy with the hopes of millions of families.

Last week, 19 additional votes were needed for the House to consider the reform bill that the Senate approved. A certain amount of GOP support for the bill seems to exist. However, no one wants to defy the legislative leadership, which is torn between doing something symbolic that sends a positive message to the Latino electorate; doing the opposite, to be tougher in order to curry favor with anti-immigrants; or doing nothing, to avoid alienating conservative voters.

These alternatives, without real consensus behind any—like is happening at the House with other government issues—have forced the leadership to try to control external pressure from advocates of reform.

House Speaker John Boehner told sympathizers and key GOP donors it was his intention to approve a reform despite opposition within his caucus. Meanwhile, his second-in-command, Rep. Eric Cantor, responding to pressure from President Obama, blamed the White House for Republicans not trusting that the president who deported the most people would enforce immigration laws.

The pressures are there on behalf of comprehensive immigration reform, and they will increase. Current legislation is an outdated mosaic of laws that do not respond to the needs of the U.S. or its immigrants.

It is unfortunate that the majority caucus has more rhetoric than action to address concerns, and that it does not have political maturity within its ranks to do the right thing for the United States, instead of running away in fear when they hear the word legalization.