Immigration Reform Failure: Who’s to Blame?

President Trump refused to continue the Obama DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program as the war between Left and Right picks up steam. There seems to be just two possible choices for the blame: Congress or the Presidential Administration. And the answer is simple: Congress dropped the ball.

DACA was put in place not by a law but by an Executive Order. In doing so it blatantly violated several federal laws which makes DACA unconstitutional. DACA became necessary in the eyes of the previous President because of the failure of the Dream Act from 2012. It did pass in Congress for the President to sign into law. That is inexplicable, since Democrats controlled the White House, the House of Representatives, and the Senate in 2008. Immigration Reform should have been completed in that Congress. President Obama himself when issuing the DACA Executive Order stated it was ONLY a temporary action and that Congress would have to act legally. He said this:

“Now, let’s be clear — this is not amnesty, this is not immunity. This is not a path to citizenship. It’s not a permanent fix. This is a temporary stopgap measure that lets us focus our resources wisely while giving a degree of relief and hope to talented, driven, patriotic young people. It is the right thing to do. Precisely because this is temporary, Congress needs to act.”

Since that statement by President Obama, Congress still has NOT acted on Immigration Reform. Other than another Presidential executive order, there is very little a President can do in this matter. There are plenty of immigration laws in place already. Presidents have simply instructed federal law enforcement personnel to in part ignore them. Congress clearly bears the fault of the Immigration mess in which America finds itself. But Congressmen and Congresswomen have come out in self defense of their inaction on the matter in the wake of the DACA termination announcement. Is it any wonder that Americans’ approval rating of Congress has plummeted into single digits? What is sad is that Congress is the only entity that can do the legislative work necessary for the Nation to operate, including Immigration Reform. All they do is fight with each other, play political one-upmanship, and seek for new ways to blackmail taxpayers into paying more so Congress can spend more. Who is responsible for the Immigration Mess we’re in? Congress is clearly to blame. 

How Wrong is Congress?

Would you like to see some facts about Congress that will frost you? Do you have any idea how much it costs every year for Congress to operate? Buckle in — you’re not going to like this:

  • Ever wonder how much time our Congressional representatives spend in Washington working for us? On average over the last 9 years Congress in session averages 140 days a year. Compare that to the work year of most Americans: 5 days per week, 50 weeks per year (2 wks. vacation) = 250 days per year.
  • Base Salary for each member of Congress $174,000
  • Office and Staff allowance, per member (avg) $1,353, 205
  • Expenses, per member $256,574
  • Total base salary $93,090,000
  • Total offices and staff (Basic) $573,900,000
  • Total expenses, basic $137,267,090
  • Total combined for ALL Congress $804,247,090
  • Add $3,295,752,910 for Capitol Complex maintenance, staff and security (including the U.S. Capitol Police), the Library of Congress, the General Accounting Office, the Congressional Budget Office, and the Government Printing Office.

The total taxpayers pay for Congress to operate is $4.1 Billion annually!

Just this year alone we are paying for the 115th Congress this ridiculous amount to “work.” In this session alone they have failed to fix Healthcare, create and submit a budget, Immigration Reform, tax reform, the wall at the Southern border, and have yet to tackle the debt ceiling issue that must be moved to continue to fund the Government and to pay for the Hurricane Harvey cleanup. We are spending in 2017 $4.1 Billion for Congress. Oh, I forgot: that does NOT include their health or retirement benefits.

Most all in Congress govern with one finger in the air. No, I’m not referring to the “middle finger salute.” I am referring to a finger in the air to test the way the wind blows on a particular day about a particular political issue. Substantively one would expect all members of Congress to research, ask questions to get clarification about each pertinent detail in any legislation, then take it to their voting constituents and vote however it best impacts the voters they represent. That formerly was the way most issues were decided in legislation. But no more. Take for instance the Healthcare debacle just torpedoed.

In 2015, every G.O.P. Senator but one voted for the repeal of Obamacare. (Susan Collins voted against it then.) But several months ago when the exact same bill was put forth, 7 Republican Senators voted against it — the exact same repeal bill. (Collins voted again against it.) They were:

  • Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.
  • Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.
  • Dean Heller, R-Nev.
  • John McCain, R-Ariz.
  • Lisa Murkowski R-Alaska
  • Rob Portman, R-Ohio

Why would these six just a year and a half later change their votes? Those changes had nothing to do with the substance of the bill. The only reason they voted against it in 2015 was that they knew if it passed President Obama would NEVER sign it into law. They voted for it simply to be able to tell voters when campaigning they voted against Obamacare. Further, they campaigned in 2016 pledging support of the same repeal bill from 2015. And then they all voted against it.

Congressional hypocrisy is front and center now in the Immigration debate. Remember the “Gang of Eight?” Those were 8 senators — 4 Democrats and 4 Republicans — who joined forces to create the “Dream Act” that in 2013 was supposed to be the plan to fix Immigration. Those Senators were:

  • Sen. Michael F. Bennet, D-CO
  • Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-IL
  • Sen. Jeff Flake, R-AZ
  • Sen. Lindsey O. Graham, R-SC
  • Sen. John McCain, R-AZ
  • Sen. Robert Menendez, D-NJ
  • Sen. Marco A. Rubio, R-FL
  • Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-NY

The bill passed in the Senate but failed miserably in the House. Why? It included an almost immediate path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. An overwhelming majority of Americans do not support such a path, yet 4 G.O.P. Senators not only supported that section of the bill, they led the push to influence other G.O.P. members to vote for it as well — that in spite of the fact that Americans overwhelmingly objected to it. Two of the Gang of Eight ran for the G.O.P. Presidential nomination in 2016 who both distanced themselves from their support of that portion of the Dream Act. Just politics as usual in D.C.

Summary

Plainly stating this puts it out front: Congress is failing Americans — every day. Immigration Reform is a fundamental process that should be treated very simply: pass a law to change existing immigration laws. If Congress cannot pass such a law, the legislative process has succeeded as it was designed by our forefathers. That is the way it is supposed to happen in our Representative Republic.

I’ll close by asking one question that has puzzled me to no end throughout this debate: DACA “kids” have been in the U.S. for years. Many illegal immigrants have been in the U.S. for a generation. During all those years, if any of these sincerely wish to be lawful citizens of the United States, why have they not even began the legal process to join the nearly 1 million immigrants who legally enter the U.S. every year?

 

 


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