House Republican leaders diminished the hope of passing a comprehensive immigration reform bill this year just days after announcing a list of broad immigration principles late last month.
After they unveiled a plan that offered undocumented residents a pathway to legalization in Jan., GOP leaders backpedaled on their commitment to fix the broken immigration system in 2014 because they claim that they don’t trust the president to enforce their measures for enhanced border security. Plus, because it’s an election year, many Republican incumbents could face a backlash at the polls if they compromised to pass a comprehensive bill, notes TechCrunch.
However, the GOP aren’t the only congressional leaders holding up the process to bring a bill to the House floor for a vote. In addition, a dozen Democratic House officials have also failed to sign on to the Democratic House reform bill proposed in October.
In spite of their party’s allegiance to H.R. 15, 12 Democrats in the lower chamber have refused to co-sponsor the bill, which maintains many elements from the bipartisan Senate bill passed last June, including a provision to provide immigrants with a pathway to citizenship.
New York Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries and other Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) members won’t sign on because the bill eliminates the diversity visa program, which awards around 50,000 visas to immigrants from countries underrepresented in the U.S. on an annual basis, reports The Hill. Likewise, Donald Payne, a CBC member and a Democrat from New Jersey, criticizes the bill for not being comprehensive enough, especially in regards to diversity visas.
CBC member Rep. Yvette Clarke also noted that many of the diversity visa recipients emigrate from African or Caribbean countries.
“We want to be sure that this nation is not one that doesn’t continue to welcome people of African descent and that it is comparable to what we do for others coming from around the world,” she told Public Radio International.
Conservative Democrats like Rep. John Barrow who are opposed to offering undocumented workers “amnesty” provisions that create a path to citizenshipalso don’t support the bill. Rep. Mike McIntyre of North Carolina released a statement objecting to “granting amnesty or any type of legal status which pardons people in violation of our laws.”
Furthermore, Democratic Reps. Dan Lipinski (Ill.), Jim Matheson (Utah), Collin Peterson (Minn.), Nick Rahall (Va.) and Cedric Richmond (La.) also have not shown support for the House immigration legislation, reasserting the theory that a bill won’t pass through the House anytime soon.