Conservatives Press House Leadership on Immigration Bill


Republicans in the House are pressing House Speaker Paul Ryan on an immigration bill that goes well beyond the parameters laid out by the president for what he wants to see in an immigration bill.  Republicans and Democrats have been locked in a fierce battle over finding a legislative fix for the DACA program.

The White House told Congress that the president wants to see funding for a border wall included in any bill that addresses DACA.  In addition to those two issues, the White House has also said it wants to see two other issues addressed: chain migration and visa lottery programs.

The Goodlatte bill, named after House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), addresses those issues but also cracks down on sanctuary cities, revises policies governing child migrants and asylum seekers, and institutes E-verify, the system that requires employers to verify the legal status of employees before hiring them.

House Republicans claim that the bill has buy-in from conservative, as well as centrist Republicans, and would like to see the bill put to a vote.  It’s unlikely however, to garner any Democratic votes.  It also isn’t even clear that Republicans could get 218 votes on the bill even without Democratic help.

Another flaw with the bill, is that even if it were to pass in the House it would all but certainly die in the Senate, where Republicans have a much slimmer margin and need at least 60 votes to pass any legislation.

“Does the Senate even look at this bill? And if they won’t, then what’s the point?” said Rep. Ryan Costello, a Pennsylvania centrist.

Critics of the bill call it overly-ambitious.  They point to the E-verify provisions as being particularly troublesome for centrist legislators who represent heavily Hispanic districts where E-verify would potentially disrupt agriculture businesses.

So far Republican leadership has been reluctant to bringing the Goodlatte bill up for a vote, citing the improbability of the bill getting the requisite 2018 votes to pass.  But supporters of the bill, especially conservative lawmakers are unmoved.  “[Leadership’s]…job is to help us with the conference to make sure this happens,” conservative Republican Raul Labrador of Idaho said.  “They should put it on the floor.”


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