Local Congressmen Support ‘Compromise’ Immigration Legislation

LoBiondo and MacArthur Helped Defeat Hard-Line Goodlatte Bill
Jun 27, 2018


Local Congressmen Frank LoBiondo and Tom MacArthur helped defeat the hardline GOP comprehensive immigration bill, called the Goodlatte Bill after its sponsor, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, last Thursday.

And it looks as if they will support a “compromise bill” if it finally comes up for a vote on the House floor this week.

The Goodlatte bill would have authorized the construction of a border wall, modernized and expanded ports of entry, required the use of a biometric entry-exit system at all ports of entry, and called for hiring an additional 5,000 border patrol agents and 5,000 customs and border protection officers. It also would have ended chain migration and the diversity visa program and moved towards a merit-based legal immigration system by increasing the number of green cards available for skilled workers while establishing a new agricultural guest worker program for America’s farmers and ranchers. The hard-line bill also would have mandated employers to use the E-Verify system before hiring workers and would have withheld federal grants to sanctuary cities.

The only sop for moderates in the Goodlatte bill was a provision that would allow “Dreamers” legal status to live and work in the U.S. for renewable three-year time periods but would give them no path to citizenship.

It was defeated by a 193-231 vote, with 41 Republicans joining every single House Democrat in voting no. All five Republican members of the New Jersey delegation voted against the legislation.

The so-called compromise bill – so-called because it isn’t a compromise between Republicans and Democrats but only between the moderate and conservative wings of the GOP – contains many of the same elements as the hard-line version including $25 billion for a border wall. But it does provide a pathway to citizenship for the Dreamers, the 1.8 million undocumented immigrants who were brought into the country as children.

It isn’t enough of a compromise for Democrats. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi considers it cruel and said it “may be a compromise with the devil, but it’s not a compromise with Democrats.” Expect no or very few Democrats to vote for the bill.

But Republicans control the house with a 235 to 193 majority, so the legislation could pass without Democratic help. And it is enough of a compromise to placate some moderate Republicans.

MacArthur announced his support for the compromise bill in a statement he released on Father’s Day.

“I believe we have finally reached a compromise solution in Congress that protects our borders, gives Dreamers a legal path forward without letting them jump the line, and stops the Administration from separating families.

“I intend to vote yes and am calling on both Republicans and Democrats to accept this compromise. It is long past time to fix our immigration system and this bill is a good start.”

LoBiondo also expressed a thumbs-up on the compromise bill.

But for every moderate who helped defeat the Goodlatte Bill who switches to support the compromise bill there may be a conservative who supported the hard-line bill who will oppose the more moderate bill. Many members of the hard-right Freedom Caucus consider a path to citizenship for Dreamers nothing more than a thinly veiled amnesty.

So it wouldn’t be wise to bet the farm on the compromise bill passing in the House. And even if it does it probably stands little chance of passing in the Senate, where, as President Trump has repeatedly stated, it needs 60 yes votes, meaning it would have to get nine Democratic votes to pass.

Even betting the compromise bill will actually be voted on in the House in the near future is an iffy proposition considering Trump has been sending out mixed signals about the legislation. He told GOP House members last Friday to “stop wasting their time on immigration until after we elect more Senators and Congressmen/women in November” but told House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul on Saturday that he remains “100 percent” behind the bill.

— Rick Mellerup



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