Some members of Congress argue that the Senate immigration reform bill should be broken up and considered piecemeal. But only comprehensive legislation will pull together the strange-bedfellow coalition necessary to secure enough votes to pass both the House and Senate.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP
Some members of Congress argue that the comprehensive immigration reform bill before the Senate is too long and that it needs to be broken up and considered piecemeal. But a piecemeal approach flies in the face of the long history of failed stand-alone immigration bills. This Congress needs comprehensive reform to save itself from itself.
Only a comprehensive reform legislative package will pull together the strange-bedfellow coalition necessary to secure enough votes for any immigration bill to pass both houses of Congress: No comprehensive legislation; no bipartisan coalition; no change.
As groups hold out for their priorities, each part of comprehensive immigration reform legislation is held hostage to passage of all others:
Liberal Democrats supported by ethnic interest groups want earned legalization with a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million unauthorized immigrants. Libertarians in the Republican Party and other Republicans responding to business constituencies want more visas for high-skilled information technology workers and lower-skilled guest workers.
Legislators from states with large high-tech sectors want green cards for foreign graduates of US university doctoral programs in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields; legislators from agricultural states with vegetable, fruit, and dairy want a guest-worker program for farm workers.
More socially conservative Republicans as well as security hawks among Democrats want tougher border controls and work-site enforcement. Liberal Democrats and more libertarian Republicans accept increased spending on border fences and tighter controls, but only within the context of comprehensive reform.
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