It’s been five months since the Senate passed its immigration reform bill, S. 744. Each day that the House of Representatives refuses to take up reform costs the country an estimated $37 million.
House Speaker John Boehner has said that House Republicans won’t agree to go to a conference committee with the Senate bill so that the two houses can work out their differences and in fact don’t intend to vote on immigration reform this year.
The Senate bill includes a 13-year pathway for 11.7 million illegal immigrants that ends with a chance to naturalize. But some House Republicans reject the Senate path as rewarding illegal immigrants.
Meanwhile, President Obama said that if the House won’t agree to an omnibus bill, he’s fine with them passing a series of smaller bills as long as the end result is the same.
It’s a tough spot, but all is not lost.
The overwhelming consensus of the public—including almost every major business, labor, and faith organization across the nation—is that the time for reform is now.
A growing number of Republicans say they remain ready to work on immigration and could consider legalization, if it did not involve any direct route to citizenship.
And two Republican members of the U.S. House have stepped forward as the first GOP co-sponsors of an immigration reform bill that would provide a path to citizenship.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) joined Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) and 185 House Democrats are now backing the legislation. The bill is also supported by another local Congressman, Rep. Joe Garcia (D-Fla.).
SEIU and our partners continue the drumbeat to pressure lawmakers to heed the public will and urge the House to bring a bill to a vote.
In fact, public opinion surveys show that Republican House members can begin to rebuild the damage to their popularity caused by the government shutdown if they vote for commonsense immigration reform.