Immigration Reform Takes Backseat in House of Representatives

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During the 2012 Campaign, immigration reform was a hot-button issue. Many Republicans running for the House and Senate promised they would overhaul immigration, softening their rhetoric for fear of alienating Hispanic voters.

With the election now a distant memory, immigration reform has been pushed to the back-burner in light of the sudden Syria debate and other looming fiscal issues, such as the budget and the debt ceiling.

The Senate passed its own immigration bill in June, but many Republicans in the house see it as an overly expensive federal monster that is too forgiving of “illegal” immigrants. This attitude leaves little likelihood that the bill will pass the House when and if it is ever brought to the floor for a vote.

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) is the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. He’s also the one holding up the Senate bill, choosing instead to pass “a handful of piecemeal immigration bills, all of which avoid the main issue.”

Immigration activists spent the summer organizing citizens and visiting legislators, hoping the House votes on the bill now and not in 2014, which will be a contentious midterm election year.

The Catholic Church has become far more vocal about the issue, leading a multi-denominational coalition imploring their congregations to express their concern to legislators.

The main fear of the Senate bill is that it would reinvigorate illegal border crossing, as many believe the U.S. is too easy on the 11 million undocumented immigrants already in the country.

However, recent initiatives in Mexico lead some people, including the editorial board of The Christian Science Monitor, to believe that their plan to raise 50 percent of Mexicans out of poverty might be enough to discourage Mexicans from making that very dangerous journey.