The Senate’s immigration reform bill will never pass through the House because it “undermines the rule of law without solving the country’s illegal immigration problem,” says freshman Rep. Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican.
“The House of Representatives will reject any proposal with the Senate bill's irreparably flawed structure, which is best described as: legalization first, enforcement later . . . maybe,” the Arkansas congressman writes in The Wall Street Journal.
Cotton says the bill, passed in the Senate with bipartisan support, does far too little to secure the borders and offers illegal immigrants what they want most — legal residency — in as little as six months.
“The Senate bill's advocates argue that its implementation of enforcement measures, such as extending the security fence on the border with Mexico, will precede and be a ‘trigger’ for opening a path to citizenship,” Cotton writes. “But these advocates are conflating legalization and citizenship. America has approximately 12 million illegal immigrants, who chiefly desire the right to live and work here legally. The Senate bill legalizes them a mere six months after enactment.”
Cotton calls the Senate bill’s preconditions to citizenship, including fines, back taxes and criminal background checks, “trivial,” with fines at less than $7 a month and back taxes owed only if a tax lien has been filed.
“We should welcome the many foreigners patiently obeying our laws and waiting overseas to immigrate legally. Instead, the Senate bill's instant, easy legalization rewards lawbreakers and thus encourages more illegal immigration,” he writes.
Cotton claims the Senate bill would repeat the same mistakes that were made in a 1986 immigration reform that granted amnesty and did little to prevent the flow of illegal immigrants across the border.
“Given all this history, the American people rightly doubt that the government will finally enforce immigration laws. Thus the best solution is to abandon the Senate bill's flawed framework and proceed with an enforcement-first approach that assures Americans that the border is secure and immigration laws are being enforced,” he writes.
“If the Senate insists on the legalization-first approach, then no bill will be enacted. Meanwhile, the House will remain focused on addressing Obamacare, the economy and the national debt — which, after all, Americans overwhelmingly regard as higher priorities than immigration reform.”
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