From the Left



'Emperor' Obama's Immigration Frustration

By Clarence Page, Tribune Content Agency on

Republican fury over President Barack Obama's drastic executive action on immigration distracts from the most obvious solution: the sensible compromise that senators from both parties passed more than 500 days ago, only to have it bottled up by Speaker John Boehner in the House.

It has one major flaw, as far as House Republicans are concerned: Obama likes it.

"I worked with Congress on a comprehensive fix," the president said in his Thursday immigration speech, "and last year, 68 Democrats, Republicans and independents came together to pass a bipartisan bill in the Senate. It wasn't perfect. It was a compromise, but it reflected common sense."

"It would have doubled the number of border patrol agents, while giving undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship if they paid a fine, started paying their taxes, and went to the back of the line," he said. "And independent experts said that it would help grow our economy and shrink our deficits."

It would also add drones, watchtowers, camera systems, ground sensors and 700 miles of fencing along the Mexican border. All of this would have to happen before the first eligible migrants would receive "green cards" for permanent permission to live and work here.

That's what conservatives say they want: stronger border security before clearing any more immigrants for a pathway to legal status.


The Senate "gang of eight" that wrote the bill included leading Republicans: Florida's Marco Rubio, South Carolina's Lindsey Graham and Arizona's John McCain and Jeff Flake.

The Democrats, for the record, were Illinois' Dick Durbin, New Jersey's Bob Menendez, New York's Chuck Schumer and Colorado's Michael Bennet.

If Boehner let a bill like that come up for a simple up-or-down House vote it would pass, but probably not with a majority of Republican House members supporting it.

Even before the Senate bill passed last year Boehner said he would not bring up any immigration compromise for a vote unless it was supported by a majority of House Republicans -- and he's sticking to it.


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