Bipartisan Cooperation on Immigration Reform Turns Ugly

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A Comprehensive Immigration Bill

What began as the two political parties coming together to complete a comprehensive immigration bill has gone predictably Republican versus Democrat.

The White House is backtracking on a leaked immigration reform plan the administration planned to retreat to if the bipartisan congressional committee failed to reach agreement on a bill.

Both Senators Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan immediately cried foul categorizing the document as “dead on arrival.”

ABC’s “This Week”

The backlash didn’t stop there. On ABC’s “This Week” yesterday, Ryan who ran as Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential running mate last year, described the damaging disclosure as the president’s attempt to bypass Congress taking bipartisan out of the mix. He used the word “counterproductive” to describe the mixed signals.

Ryan complained that the alternative plan that would put details in play without insuring a guest worker program or addressing future numbers of immigrants was the equivalent of allowing those cutting in line and allowing one side to take credit politically over the other.

Obama’s Administration Seizing The Moment

In real words, Obama’s administration is seizing the moment to gain Hispanic favor in future elections.

Senator John McCain, R-Ariz went even further in his criticism of the president saying, “There are groups in the House and Senate working together to get this done and when he does things like this, it makes it much more difficult to do that. And that’s why I think this particular move – very counterproductive.”

The consensus among Republican lawmakers is the Obama administration is taking a national issue that affects all Americans and creating a political football to seize the initiative.

Obama Not Taking Interest in Immigration Bill

The main complaint among Republicans is that Obama is not personally taking an interest in the immigration bill being hashed out. The Democrats countered that all they are doing is simply creating a “Plan B” should the bill fall through the cracks.

White House Chief of staff Denis McDonough claimed, “We’re doing exactly what the president said we would do last month … which is we’re preparing. We’re going to be ready.”

Republicans are well aware that President Obama took the vast number of Latino votes cast in last November’s presidential election.

White House Immigration Proposal Uncovered

A draft of the White House immigration proposal uncovered by USA Today allowed for illegal immigrants to become legal permanent residents within eight years. There would be more funding for security and a requirement for all businesses to address the status of all their employees, mainly new hires, within a four-year period.

McDonough provided no details of the White House’s “Plan B” plan saying only, “… let’s make sure they get this thing done, and they’re up there working on it right now. We have to make progress on immigration reform, we should enact it this year and the president will continue to work with the team to make sure that happens.”

As the Republicans reiterated, the devil is in the details and they should be included in the process.

Importance of Creating a Path to Citizenship

Obama frequently emphasized in last week’s State of the Union address the importance of creating a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants who are in the United States illegally.

Republicans are divided on details of the immigration process to citizenship, ever aware that conservative members of the party are adamant in a secured border before any other details move forward.

Sen. Marco Rubio is the most boisterous of the eight senators working on legislation. He is loudly critical of the White House “Plan B” draft and describes it as just more of the same failures enacted in the past.

Lawful Prospective Immigrant

The White House’s draft bill would allow illegal immigrants to also apply under their proposed “Lawful Prospective Immigrant” visa program. The idea would apply provisional legal status for spouses or children living outside the country, according to the disputed White House draft.

What began as an earnest effort by Congress to fix immigration policy has quickly turned into bipartisan bickering that could reward the party considered the most “compassionate” with millions of future votes.

Dwight L. Schwab Jr. is a moderate conservative who looks at all sides of a story, then speaks his mind. His BS in journalism from University of Oregon, with minors in political science and American history stands him in good stead for his writing.

Dwight has 30 years in the publishing industry, including ABC/Cap Cities and International Thomson. A native of Portland, Oregon, and now a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area.

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