If the demands of Republicans such as Ted Cruz to defund Obamacare as a condition for passing a budget show that they think Democrats don’t exist, yesterday’s moved by Nancy Pelosi and her fellow Democrats to introduce a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the middle of a government shutdown shows that they think that Republicans don’t exist.
Many Americans no doubt wish that neither one of them existed. Be that as it may, Pelosi’s bill is pure theater that serious pro-reform Democrats believe might actually hurt the cause of comprehensive immigration reform.
The bill that Pelosi released is essentially the Senate bill with some twists. Reports the USA Today:
The plan laid out by the House Democrats includes most of the immigration bill passed by the Senate in July. It would allow the nation's 11 million undocumented immigrants to get a temporary legal status within six months, and apply for U.S. citizenship within 13 years if they pass a criminal background check, pay fines and learn English. The bill would revamp the legal immigration system to allow more high-tech and lower-skilled immigrants to enter the country each year.
The House plan would eliminate a $46 billion border security plan added to the Senate bill to appease Republicans concerned about future waves of illegal immigration. In its place, the bill adds a proposal by Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, that would require the Department of Homeland Security to develop a border security strategy that will ensure 100% of the border is monitored and agents are stopping 90% of people trying to cross it.
Pelosi insists that Republicans should support the bill because, if Democrats had played hardball, they would have filed a purely Democratic bill. As it is, they have included portions of the Senate bill and McCaul's border security bill, which was approved unanimously by the House Homeland Security Committee, to show how serious they are about reaching a bipartisan agreement in the House. “Every piece of this legislation has had bipartisan support, and that was important to us,” she said.
Pelosi’s disingenuous blather notwithstanding, the fact is that this effort is deader than Gloria Estefan’s career. (Estefan herself talked about her career in the past tense on the Tavis Smiley show recently.) Even Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) warned last week that Democrats must step carefully so as not to alienate the Republicans whose support would be needed to get a bill to President Obama. “Let’s have a bill that unifies Democrats — and that’s our starting point — but let’s not give up on bipartisanship,” he said.
That might be sensible advise under the circumstances, but maybe what he doesn't understand is that Pelosi loves illegals so much that she wants to keep them illegal by pushing reforms when they have no chance of passing and every chance of backfiring.
Bonus material: Cato's Alex Nowrasteh's column in The Hill on the 48th anniversary of Lyndon Johnson's immigration reforms today that repealed national origin's quotas, among other eugenics’ horrors recommended by the 1907 Dillingham Commission. For example, it claimed that 67 percent of Polish Jewish students and 64 percent of Southern Italians students were “retarded.”