The New York Times reported yesterday that there is a bipartisan group of House Congresspersons working on an immigration bill. The special bipartisan group is composed of Representatives Gutierrez, Becerra, Lofgren, Yarmuth, Carter, Diaz-Balart, Johnson, and Labrador. The group, which represents a wide spectrum of viewpoints in both political parties, has been meeting in secret for more than three years. Their goal is to pass new immigration reform before Congress recesses in August.
Add this to a group of Senators who recently proposed in four pages their basic requirements for new immigration legislation. At the same time President Obama is getting ready his own legislation in case Congress falters.
In the meantime those opposed to reform of the antiquated Immigration and Reform Act of 1986 seem intent on focusing the public on minute details rather than the principle points proposed by legislators. And there are going to be lots and lots of details.
But the bottom line in the immigration debate, a debate intentionally tabled by both parties since 2006, is that our present immigration system has been badly broken for a very long time. On this all seem to agree.
We need to be very vigilant, however, that the growing debate, which is sure to become more impassioned as time goes by, does not get bogged down in the endless minutia, but rather maintains a focus on the need for real and fair reform. That means compromise and that means President Obama must provide leadership as the national debate heats up.
We should all demand an immigration system that is fair, efficient, and supportive of our national economy.