Farm bill failure adds pressure on House to pass immigration bill

U.S., Mexico border (Courtesy of Boston.com)
U.S., Mexico border (Courtesy of Boston.com)

House Republicans feel as though they don’t have to worry about the politics of not passing an immigration bill.

According to thehill.com, a House Republican aide said, “I don’t really feel the public is up in arms right now,” referring to the Republican’s voting bloc. This is also the sentiment of “several GOP lawmakers.”

But another piece by thehill.com displays that Republicans are in fact wary about the looming immigration bill — and they probably should be.

The pressure should be on Republicans to reform the nation’s immigration policy. They have everything to gain by reaching out to Latinos and nothing significant to lose. If one were to look at this issue from that perspective, maybe the Republicans really don’t feel any pressure because they can’t hurt their chances with Latinos anymore than they already have.

According to a Pew Research study from 2011, 45 percent of Hispanics think the Democratic Party is more concerned about them as opposed to 12 percent of Republicans. This is a large gap — though a shrinking one — that House Republicans could help eliminate by passing comprehensive immigration reform.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus recently told leaders at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, “I’ll be honest here. In the past two years, we’ve done a pretty lousy job of connecting in the Latino community.”

He added, “I didn’t come here to convert you. I hope that it’s clear that we want to earn your trust and your vote.”

Future elections — national more than state-level — are at stake for the party if they don’t venture out of their comfort zone.

To show just how much pressure House Republicans have to pass immigration reforms, an anonymous GOP aide said, “The last thing he needs to do is antagonize our folks and make this personal and any more emotional of an issue than it already is,” when discussing why the president should remain on the sidelines during the debate.

The House Republicans don’t want Obama to take a lead on this matter because it would in fact add an extraordinary amount of pressure to the House.

Establishment Republicans understand the importance of party inclusivity and party mobilization. Without the House and Senate Republicans moving forward together on immigration reform and Latino outreach, any progress made with this group may be short-lived.

Another reason why the pressure is on Republicans to pass an immigration bill, among others, is because of their recent failure to pass the farm bill with the help of Democrats. After missing an opportunity to pass a farm bill in bipartisan fashion, John Boehner said he was “pissed off” at the outcome.

The mood in the Republican House and the districts they represent is to do very little to nothing in terms of amnesty, but ramp up border security which will cost the U.S. an additional $46 billion.

Doing virtually little on an issue this vital is not an option, which is more than likely why these GOP aides are choosing to remain anonymous on the topic: They understand the importance of this vote as the 2016 elections approach with Marco Rubio more than likely being one of their best candidates.

Just recently the CBO noted that the Senate version of the immigration bill could cut illegal immigration in half. The bill could also reduce the deficit by $158 billion over the 2014-2023 period.

Cutting the deficit and limiting the flow of illegal immigration are issues both parties should be able to get behind, but a major issue not being discussed in the media is whether or not undocumented immigrants will procure the right to vote.

The next issue our elected officials will have to wrestle with is one surrounded in the morality and constitutionality behind allowing those who came here illegally to influence American elections (or not).

Because of this concern, the next logical step in this political process is for House Republicans to tack on voter ID measures. If the Democrats are willing to compromise on this, the nation just might see an immigration bill on the president’s desk sooner rather than later.

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