Rep. Goodlatte (R) held a press conference this morning regarding immigration reform efforts underway in the Senate. While he stated that he welcomed such efforts, he also stated that the House Judiciary committee would be looking at Immigration differently. The House will be dividing the legislation into separate bills so that Representatives can review and look at each aspect of immigration reform separately, as opposed to having one take it or leave it bill. According to Rep. Goodlatte, the first two bills will be introduced tomorrow and will concern the agricultural worker program and mandatory e-verify provisions. It should also be noted that Rep. Goodlatte does not support providing legal status to the thousands of people in the US without status at this time.
Considering Rep. Goodlatte’s previous stands on immigration, and considering the fact that the Senate, at this time, most likely will not consider piecemeal legislation, I think that this move makes it less likely that we will actually see immigration reform anytime soon. While I sincerely hope that I am wrong, and I hope that this can be worked out, I am not as hopeful as I was even yesterday. The primary issue is the fact that when each piece is separate, there is no guarantee that once one part is passed, the other parts will also be passed. In other words, if the House passes mandatory e-verify, what is to stop Republicans at that point from voting against the pathway to citizenship, even if they previously agreed to support it? I really see this move more as a way to end the immigration debate rather than as a way to move it forward. The only hope I see is that there can be some compromise whereby the senate agrees to modify the bill somewhat in return for having it pass as one bill. At this point, only time will tell.