Due to the weather, some customers may experience late delivery of The Roanoke Times. We apologize for the delay.
As chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Bob Goodlatte has a chance to be a leader in the search for a bipartisan solution.
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Many Republicans have tended to view immigration as an amalgam of 11 million problems that can be parsed into subcategories and tinkered with individually without thought to the larger issue.
The piecemeal approach has failed to generate real solutions for any portion of the whole, be it undocumented immigrants with long-term ties to the country, migrant farm workers or highly skilled professionals on waiting lists for green cards.
Shaken by their 2012 election losses, some GOP leaders have taken a step back to view immigration as a broad-based challenge, but also an opportunity for the country and their party. Individuals who are already contributing to the economy could become even more productive if given reasonable rules for full assimilation. And many of them hold values that could fit easily into the Republican creed, if they were treated as constituents rather than pariahs.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has taken a leading role in the Gang of Eight in devising a bipartisan comprehensive reform plan that includes increased border security and a path to citizenship, albeit one that would take many years to complete. In the House of Representatives, Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Rep. Paul Ryan have shown a willingness to seek pragmatic solutions.
Rep. Bob Goodlatte is well-positioned as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee to be part of the leadership needed to achieve success. The 6th District Republican has been criticized for pursuing a fractured strategy that threatens to bog down the progress. Goodlatte introduced the Agricultural Guestworker Act last week to make regulations on migrant workers more friendly to farmers. Other legislation, similarly limited in scope, is expected from his committee.
The congressman has long been a skeptic of reforms that include a pathway to citizenship for immigrants who lack legal status, even finding himself at odds with former President George W. Bush on the issue. Earlier this year, Goodlatte said he hoped to find a middle path “between the extremes of mass deportation and a pathway to citizenship,” as if dispatching 11 million people across the Rio Grande were remotely feasible.
But Goodlatte is a team player, and he has signaled his desire to continue in that role.
“We are, at this point in the process, not drawing any conclusions about the best solutions to move forward. We are very interested in what the Senate Gang of Eight has written,” he said in a recent news conference, adding that he has consulted with members of the group. “There is absolutely no doubt that the ultimate solution to this process will have to be bipartisan.”
Goodlatte must accept that the preservation of a low-paid and disposable foreign labor pool cannot be the ultimate goal of immigration reform. His elevated seat in Congress should give him the broader vision necessary to be a constructive voice in the debate.
Weather JournalNew batch of moisture for PM