Sunday, August 20, 2006

Road show, but no action on immigration

An editorial from the News Times of Danbury CT:

Congress talks about reform, but fails to act

Immigration reform has been put on the back burner in Washington; congressional leaders think the issue is too controversial to handle in an election year.

But that doesn't mean the politics of immigration has been put on the back burner. Indeed, Republican leaders in the House, who hold the majority and are in charge of scheduling action on legislation, are having a great time with an immigration roadshow they've organized.

It's much easier to talk about illegal immigration than it is to actually do something about illegal immigration.

Thursday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner, a Wisconsin Republican, went to El Paso, Texas, to stage a public hearing on immigration.

Sensenbrenner told those in attendance that he was in Texas to hear whether the public wants the U.S. government to "consult with a foreign government when taking steps to strengthen the security of our borders."

That foreign government is Mexico, and Sensenbrenner claims supporters of the comprehensive immigration reform legislation approved in the Senate want to let Mexico run the show and let illegal immigrants overrun the United States.

Sensenbrenner says the Senate reform measure is an "unprecedented surrender of America's sovereignty."

In Texas, Wisconsin and elsewhere, Americans know that isn't true. They know something needs to be done, they know the issue is complex and they know that politicians who talk instead of act are not doing the job they were elected to do.

The House immigration roadshow comes to New England next week, with a hearing scheduled in Concord, N.H. Another day, another state, and still nothing is done.
The House, pushed by Sensenbrenner, passed legislation that would increase border security but ignores other pressing immigration issues. What about the illegals already here? The House doesn't provide a solution.

The Senate legislation addresses border security as well as the illegals already here. Recent arrivals would be required to leave, new arrivals could apply for guest worker status. Illegals who have been here longer could try to qualify for a path toward citizenship if they pass a background check and learn English.

That's the more reasonable approach toward immigration reform -- the only workable approach.

House leaders should get off the road and back to work negotiating a compromise with the Senate that will secure the borders and address the problem of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants who are already in the United States.

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