U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) favors comprehensive immigration reform, but he told Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent yesterday he doubts anything will happen in 2013.
Further, he said the window is closing for action in 2014, due to the upcoming elections. Something would have to happen by February or March, or nothing will happen at all. “I’m hopeful that we can get to it early next year,” Diaz-Balart said. “But I am keenly aware that next year, you start running into the election cycle. If we cannot get it done by early next year, then it’s clearly dead. It flatlines.”
The problem is the refusal of House leadership to allow a vote on a comprehensive bill, which many observers believe would pass if voted upon. The U.S. Senate has already passed a bipartisan bill, but the more conservative House is leery of anything that could be labeled as “amnesty” for millions of undocumented workers already in the United States.
U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) told OAN members earlier this week that what’s in the Senate bill hardly qualifies as amnesty. It requires a lengthy wait, as well as fines, for anyone applying for legal status. “It’s pretty onerous,” he said. “I don’t know how you call that amnesty.” But to some, anything short of deportation is amnesty. “On the House side, (immigration) is a tough issue,” Schrader said. “There’s absolutely no buzz about (moving a bill forward) right now.”