Prospects for immigration reform grow dimmer
May 16th, 2014
06:25 PM ET
2 months ago

Prospects for immigration reform grow dimmer

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The chances that any significant immigration legislation will be enacted before the midterm election grew more remote on Friday, when House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's office said it would not allow debate on a narrowly crafted proposal sponsored by a fellow Republican.

President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats made a major push this week on the issue, hoping to put pressure on House Speaker John Boehner to allow a vote before the August summer break.

But Boehner and other House GOP leaders have repeatedly rejected calls to vote on a Senate-passed comprehensive immigration bill. They insist the only way the House will act is using a step by step approach.

But resistance from a majority of House conservatives to even start that process has stalled any movement on immigration, and the latest attempt illustrates the prospects for reform aren't good this year.

California Republican Rep. Jeff Denham, whose agricultural district is home to many immigrant workers, wants to add his targeted immigration measure to the defense bill next week.

His “ENLIST Act” would allow young people brought into the country illegally to join the military and gain legal status.  But even before he gets the chance to offer his amendment, Cantor's office is shutting it down.

"No proposed ENLIST amendments to NDAA will be made in order," Doug Heye, a spokesman for Cantor, said in a statement.

Last month, the backlash from a group of House GOP members who said Denham's proposal amounted to "amnesty" prevented it from being considered as part of the original defense bill in committee.

House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon, a co-sponsor of the ENLIST act, worried the controversial amendment could become a poison pill and jeopardize the defense legislation’s passage.

On Friday, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the House would “pursue its own path in the construction of an immigration reform package.”

But he also said that the Obama administration would only support a series of bills if they achieved major overhaul of the current immigration system, and that those measures must include a path to citizenship for undocumented workers.

With fewer than three dozen legislative days left before Congress takes a month-long summer recess, the window for acting on immigration is narrow.  If there is no will to take up the ENLIST act now, that doesn't bode well for any other immigration action this year.


Filed under: Eric Cantor • House Republicans • Immigration • White House
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Winston Smith

    The only item our politicians respond to is money. Their courage has a massive dollar sign attached to it, as does their patriotism. Oh wait, that's corporations that have patriotism for sale, as well as the politicians they pay off.

    May 16, 2014 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  2. The Elephant in the Room

    Everyone that is dissapointed with Congressess inability to achieve anything regarding immigration reform should vote for the Democratic candidate at the local, state, Congressional levels.

    May 16, 2014 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  3. Vence

    No immigration reform from GOP. No Hispanic vote for GOP. Period!

    May 16, 2014 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  4. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    When I was growing up, we had a crazy kid in our neighborhood who used to run headfirst into trees until he knocked himself out. He eventually got a job as a janitor, got involved in drugs and died at 30. I felt horrible for him; he knew no better. Today's GOP reminds me of him. They are destroying themselves with their 19th century mindset and beliefs. Only this time, I will be elated to see these evil, outdated creatures become extinct. Good riddance!

    May 16, 2014 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  5. Galactus

    We need our immigration laws enforced. Its time for the Federal Government to start enforcing the law and deport all 11.5 million illegal aliens.

    May 16, 2014 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  6. Chipster

    Obstruction, obstruction, obstruction.....that's just about all Republicans stand for anymore. They offer no real solutions to real problems and obstruction any effort by anyone else to try to solve problems. The only thing they've supported in the past decade is attempts to allow environmental destruction and prevent anything that holds corporations accountable for damage they do. Remember: Republicans actually apologized to BP when Obama insisted that BP had to actually pay to clean up the Gulf and pay for damages! THAT's what they stand for!

    May 16, 2014 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  7. Logictox

    When did being in the country illegally stop being a crime?

    May 16, 2014 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  8. CAWinMD

    "They insist the only way the House will act is using a step by step approach."

    That's really funny - the thought of the House actually acting on something of value. The only way the House has acted in the last four years is if they know that the Senate will either kill the bill or not even consider it. The idea of "House leadership" is probably the best example of an oxymoron going.

    May 16, 2014 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  9. Name rs

    No, Republicans won't do anything to fix immigration. Why should they? Doing something good for America isn't their thing, and besides getting paid by American taxpayers for doing nothing is a real reward for these losers.

    May 16, 2014 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  10. Thomas

    We need cheep labor not more non Americans .

    House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is helping to make things worse . He wants to be speaker so bad he can taste it .

    May 17, 2014 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  11. Thomas Harold Richards

    Didn't the Obama Administration recently unleash thousands of illegal immigrants that were convicted murderers, rapists, and kidnappers?

    May 17, 2014 06:41 am at 6:41 am |
  12. Jodo

    It is evident that obama can not be trusted to enforce the law. So why create new laws?

    May 17, 2014 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  13. Rick McDaniel

    There can be no reforms of any kind, until the border is closed. Period.

    Obama refuses to close the border, as has every President since the 1930's. Until that happens, there can be NO further discussion of reform.

    May 17, 2014 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  14. Gunderson

    I believe the American people have already spoken to this subject. If you are here as a non citizen and you want to be a U.S. citizen do like millions are already doing. Apply from your home country and go thru the process. Otherwise you will never be a U.s. Citizen.

    May 17, 2014 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  15. sad state of affairs

    Per usual, the gop will pass a bill to take 46 billion for their contractors, but no citizenship, in other words they are willing to promise you whatever, just give us some money, then we will refuse to follow through, for x reason. Getting hard to be Republican

    May 17, 2014 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  16. Name

    Enforce the laws we already have first.

    May 17, 2014 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  17. don in albuquerque

    Did you really believe the GOTP was going to do anything? Do you really believe they are EVER going to do anything?

    May 17, 2014 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  18. Bill from GA

    Anything we do to encourage lawbreaking, such as illegal entry into this country or illegal residence in this country, will only encourage more of the same.

    The simple-minded notion of closing the borders to solve the problem ignores the fact that half or more illegally in this country came here legally and stayed, illegally. As we toughen the border crossings (which we should), that number who come legally and overstay their visa will increase.

    If our government is going to be allowed to control who is or is not in the country, we will have to go after those who hire illegal workers. The repubs have shown no interest in doing that.

    May 17, 2014 11:59 am at 11:59 am |