Monday, March 17, 2014

History Repeating Itself

During this past weekend, Irish eyes were smiling. Plenty of folks picked out their best green to wear today. Shamrocks are suddenly en vogue again. And...

The Irish Prime Minister lobbied for US immigration reform in DC? No really, Enda Kenny, Ireland's Prime Minister, took to Capitol Hill to ask Congress to move on comprehensive immigration reform (CIR). He and Irish-American activists especially focused on House Republicans. And they reminded everyone on Capitol Hill that Irish immigrants & workers are counting on CIR just as much as immigrants from elsewhere.

But will "The Luck of the Irish " do the trick this time? Perhaps... Not. Once again, the G-O-TEA run lower house of Congress passed two anti-immigrant bills meant to shame President Obama on DACA. Yet ironically, they pulled this stunt just as pro-CIR activists were again urging the President to curb the incredibly high amount of deportations occurring under his watch (even since DACA was first announced).

This is why Rep. Steven Horsford (D-North Las Vegas) and other CIR advocates on The Hill cheered activists as they delivered another petition to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) last week. While Speaker Boehner and other House Republican "leaders" have touted their "principles for immigration reform", they've also abandoned their own "principles". And now that House Republican "leaders" have let the 21st Century Know Nothings dictate immigration policy there, they're claiming they'll perhaps consider reform... In 2015.

Really? Wasn't 2013 supposed to be the "prime opportunity for Republicans" to act on CIR? Wasn't the Senate's smooth passage of the bipartisan S 744 supposed to mean something in that other House of Congress? Was all the movement on CIR truly for naught? And since House Republicans have already broken their promise to act last year, why is anyone supposed to believe them now when they claim they'll act next year? And how are we supposed to know their action won't be like the action they took in 2005?

Perhaps this is all just history repeating itself. After all, this isn't the first time when immigrants coming to America faced legal challenges, economic hardship, and discrimination upon arriving here. Perhaps the visiting Irish Prime Minister had this history in mind when he visited Washington, DC, last week. It remains to be seen if G-O-TEA politicians there will decide to repeat history (again).

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