Immigration reform from Congress will have to await the inauguration of the next president in 2017. Last week, new Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan put the kibosh on any action, even though in the past he has backed reforms, including some type of amnesty for illegal immigrants.
Ryan’s decision brought an immediate response from Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who tweeted, “Republicans continue to play politics with families who want to contribute to our economy. Eso no es liderazgo.” In English: “That is not leadership.”
She’s obviously turning the issue into a political soccer ball to head off primary opponents, in particular, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. But she was a U.S. senator from New York when Democrats controlled both houses of Congress from 2007-09, yet passed no immigration reform at all, even though the president was pro-amnesty Republican George W. Bush.
In 2009, Barack Obama took office and Democrats enjoyed a 60-seat Senate supermajority needed to thwart filibusters. Again, no reform was passed. So Clinton’s own party and president first earned her derisive “Eso no es liderazgo.”
Mr. Obama himself is a large part of the problem. As Rep. Ryan explained, “I think given the fact that President Obama tried to do an end-run around Congress to go it alone, to try to write laws himself unilaterally – which is not what presidents do, that’s what Congress does – I think on this particular issue he has proven himself untrustworthy.”
Whatever immigration policy is crafted should come from Congress, not presidential fiat. That’s clear from the Constitution, which reads in Article I, Section 8, “The Congress shall have the Power … To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization.”
Another problem has been the desire of many reformers in both parties for “comprehensive” immigration reform. That took shape in 2013 as S.744. The main author was Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York. But one co-author was Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida; now a presidential candidate, he since has distanced himself from the bill.
But the bill stretched to 1,198 pages. It was one of those preposterously complex bills that, as then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said of Obamacare in 2010, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”
We favor piecemeal and understandable immigration reform that follows the Constitution and would not entice people here with generous taxpayer-funded welfare programs. That process can start as soon as Inauguration Day 2017.
— The Orange County (California) Register,