Mariel Garza

Doing nothing is not the ‘right way’ to do immigration reform

Deputy editorial page editor

Mariel Garza

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. AP

After President Barack Obama outlined his plan for deportation relief for millions of undocumented immigrants few weeks ago, Congressional Republicans went to town on the president.

They criticized him for taking a unilateral and “illegal” action. Many questioned the constitutionality of the action. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz likened the Obama administration to a corrupt dictatorship.

Along with the headline-grabbing comparisons, Republicans have griped that Obama should have worked with Congress on reform and not gone over their heads.

Texas Republican Michael McCaul said Tuesday at a congressional hearing on Obama’s plan, as quoted in USA Today: “We need to reform our immigration laws, but we need to do it the right way.”

Ok. As we said in an editorial last month, executive action isn’t an ideal way to fix the broken immigration system. Let’s give this “right way” a shot. Let’s see the House take up its own version of immigration reform legislation – any immigration reform legislation. Hah, that would steal Obama’s thunder.

Of course, a House immigration bill it would start with securing the border. That’s fine. Most Americans like the idea of a more secure border, so long as it doesn’t cost too much.

But what comes after that?

What do we do with the parents of kids who are U.S. citizens? It would be fairly horrible to deport them and drop the kids in foster care, especially at Christmas time.

What do we do with the agricultural workers who help feed the nation and world? Do we tell the farmers to buy some strawberry-picking drones for their harvests?

We may never know the answer.

Apparently, doing it “the right way” is too hard. It seems clear from news this week that the only immigration-related bill the House will consider voting anytime soon on is a budget bill that blocks funds for Obama’s immigration initiatives.

Too bad. Republicans had a chance to take the high road on this and – finally – stake out a real position on immigration reform rather just standing in opposition. Instead, they chose to take the low road, yelling and kicking all the way down.