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Florence Times Daily | Ignoring immigration reform

July 3, 2013
In The News

Ignoring immigration reform
Florence Times Daily | July 3, 2013 

 

By ignoring immigration reform, House Republicans are hurting both their party and their country. 

America’s reputation as a great melting pot of diversity is not exactly reflected in Republican members of the House of Representatives.

Of the 234 Republicans in the House, 207 are white males. With 88 percent of one race and gender controlling legislation, it is no wonder that immigration reform has seemingly stalled.

On an individual basis — a basis in which politicians excel — these congressmen have everything to gain and nothing to lose by blocking reform. On a collective basis, however, they could further jeopardize the national Republican Party.

“It’s an existential dilemma for the Republicans,” Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., told the Associated Press. “The folks in gerrymandered (House) districts can just say no, but if they want to have any national future, the adults in the room have to say yes.”

Whether they choose to provide a pathway to citizenship or simply a form of legalization, Republicans in Congress can do themselves and the nation a favor by taking action on the issue. Despite the wishes of some Americans, the 11 million immigrants who are here illegally are not simply going to go away. It is better for everyone if Congress finds a way to better assimilate them into society rather than keeping them in the shadows.

Republicans pledged they would change after losing the 2012 presidential election partly because their policies appealed to such a limited base.

It would seem that Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., son of Cuban immigrants, could be the face of a wider umbrella of support. He has advocated a path to citizenship in the Senate, where immigration reform recently passed.

But sniping at Rubio from within the party has already begun over the immigration issue. Right-wing broadcast pundit Glenn Beck called him a “piece of garbage.” Boos erupt when his name is mentioned at tea party rallies. The National Review recently featured a cover with the words “Rubio’s Folly.”

Even those who see political wisdom in supporting Rubio’s position take to his defense by saying he is protecting the border and wants to end amnesty. This wink to the party’s base is not exactly an advertisement for inclusion and growth.

Perhaps the white males of Congress — including our own Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville, and Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Haleyville — can claim individual victory by playing to the xenophobic fears of their base. But ignoring one of the nation’s top issues is bad for the GOP’s hopes to win the White House in 2016 and, more importantly, bad for the country.

 

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