By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Congressman Jo Bonner (R) from Mobile said in his weekly column that the immigration bill which passed the U.S. Senate is flawed and that the ‘Gang of Eight’ bill as passed by the Senate is dead in the Republican controlled U.S. House of Representatives.
Rep. Bonner wrote, “Weeks after the Senate passed a flawed immigration reform bill that seriously jeopardizes efforts to secure our nation’s borders, my offices continue to receive daily phone calls and emails from South Alabamians opposed to any such deal. I share the view of many of you that rewarding illegal behavior does not constitute a sound immigration reform policy. Reforms cannot be undertaken, and frankly would not work, until our borders are truly secure.”
Rep. Bonner continued, “I was dismayed with the Senate’s 1,200-page bill, which effectively encourages even more illegal border crossings through its promise of amnesty to millions who have already entered the country illegally. We’ve been down this road before with disastrous results. After a similar approach of amnesty and increased border patrols passed Congress in 1986, the illegal immigrant population in this country exploded.”
Rep. Bonner concluded, “To state the obvious, there is no interest in passing anything remotely similar to the Senate immigration bill here in the House. Speaker John Boehner made clear the controversial Senate immigration bill was “dead on arrival” on this side of the Hill. Currently, the House Judiciary and Homeland Security committees are drafting their own legislation to address illegal immigration. Border security must come first.”
At least eleven million illegal aliens live in the United States. Under existing U.S. law, they can be arrested and deported back to their country of origin at any time, but President Obama has slowed the deportation process to a minimum. Most people across the political spectrum support some sort of legalization for existing undocumented residents. There is division on whether that should include a path to citizenship, how much border security should be strengthened, and how much legal immigration should be increased.
By some estimates the bill which was passed by the Senate would increase legal immigration from ten million over the next ten years to thirty million. Opponents of the legislation argue that giving corporations carte blanche to import unskilled and low skilled foreign workers will only increase unemployment and wages for native born American workers.
President Obama won reelection in 2012 and has made immigration reform as well as sweeping new limits on Americans’ historical gun rights his primary two legislative goals for 2013. His gun control legislation is bogged down in the Senate and immigration reform appears to be stalled in the House.
Congressman Jo Bonner represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. Rep. Bonner has announced that he is retiring next month to accept a position working for the University of Alabama System. A special election to fill the seat will be held in the fall.