National Immigration Forum

Practical Solutions for Immigrants and America


House “Faux” Hearings Reveal Restrictionists Have “No Game”

July 20, 2006

"We could also electrify this wire with the kind of current that would not kill somebody, but it would be a discouragement for them to be fooling around with it. We do that with livestock all the time."
 -- Rep. Steve King (R-IA), quoted by The Hill, equating the containment of immigrants to that of livestock (7/13/06)

Washington, DCToday, the House of Representatives continues its series of post-passage immigration hearings with a panel in the Education and Workforce Committee.  This follows a puzzling hearing in the Judiciary Committee’s Immigration Subcommittee yesterday, and precedes a joint hearing in two Homeland Security and Government Reform Subcommittees on Thursday to examine the merits of a border fence.  Following is a statement by Angela Kelley, Deputy Director of the National Immigration Forum, a pro-immigrant advocacy organization.

Congressman Jeff Flake (R-AZ) had it just right yesterday when he called the continuing House attack on workable immigration reform a series of “faux hearings.”  Between the stacked panels and the fiery rhetoric of immigration opponents, the hearings are fixated on continuing to diagnose the problems with our current immigration system, but have nothing to say about solutions that might fix the problem.  On the few occasions when anti-immigration witnesses are pressed to articulate their policy solution, they are mostly left speechless or dumbfounded and in the case of Phyllis Schlafly of the Eagle Forum, embarrassingly so.

The closest immigration hardliners can come to articulating a solution is a hope that immigrants will deport themselves and that we will gain control over immigration through attrition.  They have not been pressed to speculate on how many decades or generations that attrition process might take.  When it comes to solutions, the restictionists have no game.

The House of Representatives should take a page from the Senate play book.  There, a coalition of Republicans and Democrats worked together with Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) and Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to craft a comprehensive package of reforms that was supported by two-thirds of the Senate.  That bipartisan coalition likely exists in the House, but self-imposed partisan rules by Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) are preventing a vote or any real progress towards enacting legislation.

So millions of voters, millions of immigrants, and millions of employers wait for the House to finish its tantrum and join the Senate at the negotiating table to implement a workable plan that secures our borders, enforces our laws, meets the demand for family and work visas, and delivers an enforceable plan for how to deal with 12 million undocumented immigrants.


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