(LETTER TO THE EDITOR) Americans’ memories for political events are notoriously short-lived, but one event should NEVER be forgotten amid our great immigration controversy.  That involves the bipartisan immigration reform bill that the US Senate passed by a veto-proof 68-32 margin on June 27, 2013.  The bill included a nationwide employment eligibility verification system (E-Verify) and stricter border control, along with a path to citizenship for eleven million undocumented immigrants, an innovative temporary worker program, and increased visa numbers for skilled foreign workers.

Quoting Froma Harrop’s commentary, “Republicans don’t want to fix immigration”: “There were enough supportive Democrats and Republicans to pass the reform in the House as well, but then-Speaker John Boehner didn’t put it up for a vote.” (Spokesman-Review 1/20/18) Purportedly among House Republican leadership, our Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers was complicit in this assault on democracy and majority rule.  Characteristically, she was the consummate political lackey.

House passage of this bill would have rendered it law with then-President Obama’s signature, thus avoiding all acrimony, stress on immigrants, and wasted time and money that has ensued.

Shortly after Senate passage of its bipartisan immigration reform bill, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected that the bill would reduce federal budget deficits by $197 billion over the next decade. The bill was the result of bipartisan cooperation among lawmakers, business groups, labor unions, agricultural interests, and immigration advocates. In particular, it was supported by such pro-business and pro-agriculture groups as the US Chamber of Commerce and the local Washington Growers League, an influential Eastern Washington agribusiness association working on immigration in an unusual alliance with the Washington Federation of State Employees. The Chairperson of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration also expressed support.

This legislation could still be rescued by the House, but certainly won’t happen until we make better choices like electing Lisa Brown to replace McMorris Rodgers.

Norm Luther
Spokane, WA 99223

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