Obama, Lofgren & Pelosi blast GOP on immigration

The rhetoric flew hot and heavy as Wednesday marked one year since the Senate’s introduction of a bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill.

The Senate passed the vote, but the House’s GOP leadership has refused to take up that bill or offer one of its own. President Obama issued a statement Wednesday morning saying this means House Republicans prefer the status quo over meaningful reform.

“Instead of advancing commonsense reform and working to fix our immigration system, House Republicans have voted in favor of extreme measures like a punitive amendment to strip protections from ‘Dreamers,’” the president said. “The majority of Americans are ahead of House Republicans on this crucial issue and there is broad support for reform, including among Democrats and Republicans, labor and business, and faith and law enforcement leaders. We have a chance to strengthen our country while upholding our traditions as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants, and I urge House Republicans to listen to the will of the American people and bring immigration reform to the House floor for a vote.”

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, ranking Democrat on Judiciary’s Immigration subcommittee, issued a statement noting “even today a majority of Members of the House say that they favor immigration reform, which isn’t surprising because reform is overwhelmingly supported by a majority of Americans from across the political spectrum.”

“That support is one of the reasons why a movement has started to give immigration reform a fair up or down vote in the House,” said Lofgren, D-San Jose. “But the Republican-controlled House continues to stall on immigration reform, and as they continue to run out the clock, the window of opportunity to pass reform narrows.”

Then, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., issued a statement saying Obama had called him Wednesday after issuing his “partisan statement which attacked me and my fellow House Republicans and which indicated no sincere desire to work together.”

“After five years, President Obama still has not learned how to effectively work with Congress to get things done. You do not attack the very people you hope to engage in a serious dialogue,” Cantor said. “I told the President the same thing I told him the last time we spoke. House Republicans do not support Senate Democrat’s immigration bill and amnesty efforts, and it will not be considered in the House. I also reiterated to the President there are other issues where we can find common ground, build trust and get America working again. I hope the President can stop his partisan messaging, and begin to seriously work with Congress to address the issues facing working middle class Americans that are struggling to make ends meet in this economy.”

Nancy PelosiAnd that annoyed House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco.

“In response to the President’s renewed call for action on comprehensive immigration reform, Congressman Cantor once again offered only excuses for inaction,” Pelosi said. “With 30 House Republicans on the record in support of comprehensive reform, Rep. Cantor’s ridiculous statement this evening confirms that the Republican leadership continues to stand in the way of legislation that would pass the House immediately if allowed to come to the floor. It’s time for Speaker Boehner and Leader Cantor to get out of the way, and allow immigration reform to become a reality.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Willis James

    Easy to blast the Republicans and indeed there should be a comprehensive immigration reform bill passed this year.

    However, I would like for Lofgren or Pelosi to point out where in the 844 page Senate bill, that future interior enforcement would be conducted, so as to find and deport “future” undocumented arrivals who are working in various business settings.

    In short, everyone knows that tens of thousands of newly arriving future undocumented workers will be coming to California after passage of the Senate bill.
    Say they go to work in a restaurant or factory or at a residential construction site as is the case today.

    So for these future undocumented workers what is in the bill that will allow ICE or other agencies to find and deport such workers.

    Will Lofgren and Pelosi be supporting such enforcement or will they once again decry the apprehension and removal of these future undocumented workers who are certain to arrive in substantial numbers during the next 5 to 10 years. After all, no one believes that more than 50% of the flow across the border will be stopped.

    So… do Logren and Pelosi support, and will they fully fund a strong interior enforcement?

    I really doubt it. I also doubt that a huge percentage of those complaining about the non-passage of the Senate bill, would, if it were passed, fully support future interior enforcement.
    Example, after passage, do you think the Catholic Church will support full interior enforcement of the Senate bill?

    So while it is easy to throw stones at the Republicans for doing nothing, I can’t get comfortable about the implementation of the 844 page Senate bill were it to pass the House.

    Lots of the lower economic half of the nation’s workers will be greatly impacted if there is no interior enforcement and hundreds of thousands more undocumented workers come to compete for the jobs of lower skilled Americans who already have a true unemployment rate of 16% to 20%.

    We don’t hear much about the protections in the bill for those lower income workers and their economic future.
    Talk to a carpenter or a drywall installer. Ask him how much interior enforcement he expects will be done after the Senate bill is passed.

    Or you can just listen to the Chamber of Commerce who want lots more cheap labor to fill those and so many other jobs.
    Do you think in the future, under the Senate bill, that ICE would be looking into the housekeeping crews at major hotels to make sure not undocumented workers were there? Really?

    OK, please point out the strict future interior enforcement provisions.

    Right now, as seen in the recent Los Angeles Time article, once beyond 100 miles from the border, there is near zero enforcement or deportations over the past several years

    April 1st, 2014 article

    Personally, I’d let everyone who is here today stay legally, if I thought there would be any future enforcement of the workplace.
    I have near zero faith that would be the case.

  • Elwood

    Obama, Lofgren & Pelosi blast GOP on immigration

    Hoo boy, I bet that’ll make the Reeps feel bad!

  • JohnW

    I don’t think their goal is to “make the Reeps feel bad.” They just want to get Hispanic voters mad enough at the Reeps so that they will turn out and vote in the midterms.

  • Elwood

    Am I the only one to catch a whiff of desperation coming off the dimmiecrats?

  • JohnW

    If Reeps can’t grab the Senate this year, they’ve got big problems. 21 of 36 seats up are currently held by Dems. Mid-terms favor Reeps. They need six flips to get control, and 11 are considered achievable (AK, AR, CO, IA, LA, MI, MT, NH, NC, SD, WV). The only seats the Dems could flip are KY and GA. The irony for Reeps is that they could win control of the Senate, but Mitch McConnell could lose his race and never get to be the new majority leader.

  • Willis James

    Oh no, not Mitch.
    I’d sure hate to lose that loving face I see on the news so often.
    The kind of guy you’d just love to have a beer with. A upbeat visionary.

  • JohnW

    Well, if Mitch loses, he could probably get a gig on TV doing a re-make of this once popular TV show:


  • Willis James

    Little by little the mainstream press is questioning the strident and exaggerated claims of those who essentially want unfettered immigration right now, to include a near total ban on further deportation.


    To go with the LA Times recent article linked to in the prior post which showed the increases in deportations to be a false claim..

    One wonders how those who object to deportations now, will suddenly be willing to accept future deportations spelled out in the Senate’s comprehensive bill.

  • RRSenileColumnist

    Only Bay Area votes in 2 saintly idiots: Lofgren and Lee. White and Black. Ain’t that America? (Pelosi is in a special category; a relentless hustler)

  • JohnW

    Border security and deportation, while necessary, are the most difficult and costly, the least effective and the least humane methods of dealing with the issue. Deal with the employers (something we seem reluctant to do), and border security becomes a less daunting challenge.

    Read the following link and see how you feel about it.


  • Willis James

    Well certainly that is a sad tale, especially considering his service in the Navy. That should have accounted for some consideration.

    Having said that, anytime you have a big system, processing millions, you are going to have some lines that separate folks.

    His huge problem
    “I take a plea deal: admit to felony possession of marijuana with intent to distribute”

    That is the entire issue in his case.
    But for that, the man would now be a citizen.

    There will always be sad stories and exceptions to the rule.

    Look, if we were to pass the Senate bill, the question is two fold.
    What percent of the illegal immigration would we stop.
    Most suggest 50% at most.
    Just as you indicate that it the most expensive and least effective place to control illegal entry. Its really just a showcase for “getting tough”.

    My biggest hesitation is that I don’t believe for one second that under the senate bill there will be any effective interior enforcement.
    Today there is near zero enforcement once people are past the border area.
    The chances that a illegal worker will be found, caught, and deported are around 1 in 100.
    After passage of the Senate bill, that may go up to 1 in 100.
    Certainly not 1 in 10.
    Thus the magnet for further immigration will continue.

    Worse yet, a good percentage of those who now shout for passage of the Senate bill, will be shouting 3 years down the road for non-enforcement of its provisions.
    The will decry every deportation of newly arrive undocumented workers.
    They will march and demand that even the new arrivals should not be deported.
    All the same arguments will be dredged up.

    Seriously do you really believe that the authorities will be checking on restaurants, hotels, motels, landscaping cos, factories, and a thousand other businesses that employ cheap undocumented labor.
    Leaving aside agriculture as a separate issue.

    There will be minimal enforcement.
    There will be minimal deportations of all the newly arrived illegal immigrants.

    The energy and political will to enforce the Senate bill will fade away as big business acts to soften enforcement……in solidarity with immigrants rights groups and the church.

    We will have accomplished very little.

    My biggest problem is that no one.. certainly not the progressive crowd, seems to care one bit about the economic environment of our American underclass. It is their jobs that are the ones newly arriving undocumented workers will be competing for.

    The Democratic party, as well as the Chamber of Commerce seem to care little about the Joe Average, little guy, unless he happens to be part of one of their unions.
    For the tens of millions of others in the lower skilled working class, there is NO ONE looking out for their best economic interests.

    Increasing legal immigration along with ineffective enforcement of illegal immigration does them great harm.
    But no one cares.
    No one speaks for them.
    Our Bay Area legislators never ask them how they are affected.

    All they hear about is some distant time when the minimum wage will be $10.10 per hour Whoopie… if they even have a job.

    I find the way this underclass is treated by our local legislators and congress members to be disgusting.
    They care far more about helping undocumented workers to be accepted than they do for our local underclass to be employed and to get decent wages.

    But you’ll hear nothing about this from any East Bay legislator, unless the working man happens to be part of a city employee union, or BART, or similar.
    Everyone else… tough luck.
    You have been abandoned by your fellow citizens. They care more about others rights than your economic future.

    That is why I am not terribly upset about the non-passage of the Senate bill. I see nothing in it to help secure a good future for America’s underclass of citizens and legal immigrants.
    It is far more about pleasing corporations and political pressure groups… the grand coalition.
    The working low skilled underclass is being sold down the river.

    I wish I were wrong, but I see no local leaders acting otherwise for this underclass.

  • JohnW

    Yeah! Thanks for your service to our country. Enjoy your new life as a subsistence pig farmer in Jamaica.

  • Willis James

    Look, with his entire family here I am thinking there is a way for him.
    Having said that, we can’t make our decisions based on a fairly small percentage of such tough stories.

    Or overall national policy has to be based on what is the case for the 98% of cases.
    Both sides use such cases to make their claims.
    We have this young man you give as your example and then on the other hand we have the likes of Shrimp Boy, who despite his multiple crimes is allowed to stay, after making a deal to turn on a fellow criminal.

    I’m very open to a fairly open policy of who can stay and also get onto a path to citizenship.
    What I can’t stand is for us to make a new policy, allow 98% of the 12 million to stay, and then not fully enforce the laws going forward.
    Which will inevitably include deportation of tens of thousands who come illegally AFTER the new policy is passed.

    If we can’t enforce and deport those who come undocumented later, then we have done nothing.

    So, I take it, you would have no objection for “future” arrivals being deported if they have come illegally?
    Put some teeth in the Senate bill to do that and I’m OK with most of the rest of it. In fact I’m even willing to have more liberal terms.
    After all, the Senate bill says anyone arriving after January 1st, 2012, must leave if they came illegally, or face deportation.. I’d be willing to make that date Jan 1, 2014.

  • JohnW

    Good point about Shrimp Boy and others like him.

  • RRSenileColumnist

    Shrimp Boy validates America as the Land of Opportunity, albeit in a perverse way