Two years ago, Republicans captured control of both houses of Congress and the White House, and immigration was a big part of their success. They said no to amnesty for illegal aliens, and yes to border security, mandatory E-Verify, an end to sanctuary policies, and a rational merit-based immigration system.

Last week, in the legislative equivalent of a hostage crisis, House Republicans had a chance to deliver on those promises, albeit with a small amnesty for illegal aliens who have enjoyed protections under DACA. After dithering for a year and half on one of their marquee policy issues, they were forced to consider several immigration bills in order to stave off the disastrous effects of a successful discharge petition.

In the first vote, 41 Republicans joined with a unified Democratic caucus in opposing the Securing America’s Future Act, also known as the Goodlatte bill. As a reminder, the Goodlatte bill – despite having a limited amnesty component– contains many FAIR-supported reforms that are long overdue. Specifically, the bill would have targeted dangerous sanctuary cities, enhanced border security, mandated E-Verify, eliminated the visa lottery and perhaps most importantly, ended chain migration – which has depressed wages and displaced American workers for generations.

A second, so-called compromise bill that was hastily assembled at the direction of Speaker Paul Ryan was also supposed to receive a vote on Thursday, but was delayed when it became clear that it, too, was destined to go down in flames. The bill is still scheduled for a vote this week, but it is likely that some changes will be made in an effort to secure additional votes. Currently, the bill is nothing more than a mass amnesty that repeats mistakes of the past. It audaciously grants amnesty to nearly 2 million illegal aliens, does not include mandatory E-Verify, and keeps chain migration in place – even allowing amnesty recipients to sponsor their lawbreaking parents for a green card. All of these things are unacceptable.

The House fiasco was the second Republican train wreck resulting from their failure to act swiftly and resolutely on their campaign promises. Earlier this year the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s attempt to construct an immigration debate on the fly similarly blew up in his face. Ryan should have.

President Trump, who arguably should have pressured his own party to act earlier on immigration, has apparently had enough. The president overtly blasted congressional Democrats for exploiting the crisis at the border, while blocking any alternatives to just letting everyone who shows up enter. His tweet also sent a message to Republican legislators that they need to stand behind the pledges they made to truly fix our immigration policies.

Dan Stein is the president of the Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform.



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