If House Republicans fail to pass an immigration reform bill it will be a "policy blunder and perhaps a political disaster," The Wall Street Journal editorialized.
"The GOP is splintered and confused on immigration, and this has left the party with no coherent or winning message," said the Journal editors on Wednesday.
House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, and his fellow members of Congress "face a fundamental choice: kill immigration reform, or try to pass constructive and pro-growth measures that have broad public and business support, including from millions of conservatives," the Journal said.
"The first option would be policy blunder and perhaps a political disaster. To fail to fix any part of an immigration system that everyone agrees is contrary to U.S. economic interests, and after the Senate has passed a bipartisan reform, would play into Democratic charges that House Republicans are mere obstructionists," continued the Journal.
The Senate bill passed last month would provide the 11 million illegal immigrants already in the country a path to citizenship as the federal government rolls out a $46 billion "border surge" strategy.
"Even if the House doesn't want to take up the entire bill that recently passed the Senate, it can still consider and pass the parts that are pro-growth and that most Republicans support," said the newspaper.
These parts include provisions to allow foreign graduates of U.S. schools with science, math and technology degrees to stay in the country if they have a job offer, to double the number of H-1B visas for skilled immigrants, and to offer visas to those who will start businesses and invest in the country.
The Journal argued that "these reforms are vital to U.S. economic leadership, and a party that opposes them looks blinkered and backward."
The editorial said that the GOP should also vote to codify the Dream Act, which would allow some two million immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children to become legal residents and eventually citizens, noting, "President Obama has issued an executive order toward this goal, but Republicans can make it permanent and get some credit for a policy that is the essence of compassionate conservatism."
"History proves without question that the best way to reduce illegal immigration is by opening more paths for legal immigrants to meet U.S. labor demand," said the Journal, adding, "Border security alone won't work. Almost all Republicans in the House insist they support legal immigration. It's time to prove that with some votes."
The newspaper maintained that House GOP members should also be willing to debate and vote on the issue of legalizing the 11 million unauthorized immigrants, saying, "We support this path to citizenship, and many House Republicans also claim to support it eventually, someday, just not as in the Senate bill."
It continued, "Mr. Boehner should challenge his members to come up with the terms they would support, because the alternative is 'self-deportation' that isn't going to happen."
"The dumbest strategy is to follow the Steve King anti-immigration caucus and simply let the Senate bill die while further militarizing the border," concluded the Journal, referring to Rep. Steve King of Iowa, who told Newsmax TV this week
that Congress should scrap immigration reform until President Obama is gone.
"This may please the loudest voices on talk radio, but it ignores the millions of evangelical Christians, Catholic conservatives, business owners and free-marketers who support reform. The GOP can support a true conservative opportunity society or become a party of closed minds and borders."
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