Border security must come first to pass House



The Hill:
The timing of when to grant legal status to the nation’s estimated 11 million illegal immigrants has emerged as the key point of dispute between the House and the Senate, which is poised to approve its immigration bill as soon as Thursday.

Differences over the issue could keep the House and Senate from reaching a deal and prevent President Obama from fulfilling the top priority of his second term despite the momentum gained from a successful Senate vote.

Republicans in the House say the border security amendment added to the Senate bill Wednesday to bolster GOP support in both chambers improves the legislation — but not enough to gain their support.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) again assured House Republicans in a private meeting Wednesday that the House would not simply take up and pass the Senate bill, leaving prospects for immigration reform reaching Obama’s desk unclear.

Conservatives said the border security amendment does not address what they see as the Senate bill’s fatal flaw: It grants the nation’s illegal immigrants provisional legal status before border security and enforcement enhancements are implemented.

“I’m not going to call it a fig leaf. I think it is an actual enforcement amendment,” said Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho), a former immigration lawyer who worked for months with a bipartisan House group crafting immigration legislation. “The issue with it is that it legalizes 11 million people before it is put into place all the way.”

The likelihood of an eventual compromise could hinge, Republicans say, on whether Democrats give ground on the timing of legalization.

“There’s no question that’s a major dividing point,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.).

Senate Democrats have held out hope that their concessions on border security will pave the way to a deal with the House.

And there have been some positive sides from key House Republicans.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), a champion of comprehensive immigration reform, said on Tuesday that passage of the amendment brokered by GOP Sens. Bob Corker (Tenn.) and John Hoeven (N.D.) moved the Senate “closer to the House’s position,” and made a final bill “more likely.”

Yet House leaders have repeatedly said the proposal will have to move further to the right to have any chance across the Capitol.
...
Ryan made it clear in an interview with Hannity that it will take more than the hiring of more border agents to get a deal in the House.  He pointed out that 40 per cent of the illegals are overstays which means border agents would never have to deal with them.  It would be a matter of inland enforcement by ICE and this administration has hand cuffed that agency with its abuse of prosecutorial discretion.

He is going to insist on hard triggers that are supervised by Congress and not the administration.  There is just no belief among Republicans that the administration will act in good faith if given discretion.

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