After House Democrats filed a discharge petition on Wednesday to try to force a vote on comprehensive amnesty legislation, President Barack Obama praised the bill as one that would “make sure everyone plays by the same rules,” even though it would give special treatment to illegal immigrants who have broken the law.
In a White House press statement, Obama blamed “Republicans in the House” for refusing to “allow meaningful immigration reform legislation to even come up for a vote.” He then applauded the “efforts of Democrats in the House to give immigration reform the yes-or-no vote it deserves.”
“It would make sure everyone plays by the same rules by providing a pathway to earned citizenship for those who are living in the shadows,” Obama said. “Immigration reform is the right thing to do for our economy, our security, and our future.”
House Democrats need 218 signatures to force a vote, which is highly unlikely, for their H.R. 15 immigration bill that is essentially the Senate’s comprehensive immigration bill with looser border security provisions. The discharge petition, at this writing, has 24 of the 218 signatures needed. Reportedly, 200 people have co-sponsored the bill, including three Republicans who have said they would not sign the discharge petition.
Obama stated that the “only thing standing in the way is the unwillingness of Republicans in Congress to catch up with the rest of the country.” He added, “I want to thank the leaders in Congress who are doing their part to move us forward.”
While he also cited a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report that said the legislation would grow the country’s economy, Obama did not mention that the nonpartisan CBO determined that comprehensive immigration reform legislation would actually lower the wages of American workers by flooding the labor market with more legal and illegal immigrants. The illegal immigration problem may not even be solved under the legislation if workers who are granted temporary work permits and visas decide to overstay them. Currently, 40% of all illegal immigrants have overstayed their visas, and there is no indication this would change as the number of visas awarded in various sectors would double or even triple. The Senate Budget Committee found that the Senate’s amnesty legislation would increase both entitlement spending and unemployment.
Stephen Miller, the communications director for Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who has been a fierce opponent of amnesty, said that the “House Democrats’ bill will enrich the global elites who lobbied for it while slashing incomes and employment for millions of Americans that they apparently believe are not qualified to work.”
“Incredibly, House Democrats have unified behind an immigration bill that would double the inflow of new guest workers competing against jobless Americans in every single US occupation – from engineering to teaching to manufacturing,” he said.