A Letter to Speaker Boehner

Author: on November 21, 2013

shutterstock_12168481Crystal and I wrote Speaker Boehner a letter that I wish we hadn’t had to send.  His inaction on immigration reform has been incredibly disappointing, as he caves to the pressure from a relatively small group within the Republican party, my party, and does nothing.

Hasn’t brought up a single immigration bill for a vote in the House.  Won’t even consider bringing up a comprehensive bill that legitimately seeks to handle our broken immigration system.  Can’t take the requests from his party members Denham, Ros-Lehtinen, and Valadeo seriously as they sign on to cosponsor H.R. 15.  Doesn’t consider the needs of our country, our people, and our future and lets an economic boost and a trillion dollars in deficit reduction sit unused.

Hasn’t. Won’t. Can’t. Doesn’t.

To my mind, the Speaker of the House shouldn’t be “leading” by telling us what he won’t do.  Negatives are not leadership.  A majority party is supposed to move things forward, not put up roadblocks.  Stop delaying, recognize what is necessary no matter how unpalatable a small minority of our party might see it, and get it done.

Speaker Boehner has wasted much of this year and tried to stall the momentum that immigration reform has had since the last election but we must not give up.

Here’s the thing.  AILA’s members have the somewhat dubious privilege of being on the front lines of our nation’s mishmash of immigration law and policy.  We are frustrated every day by the law’s failure to keep families together, encourage entrepreneurship, and respect due process.

We don’t have a balanced and smart immigration system, instead we have a labyrinth, one that continues to destabilize our society and our economy.  AILA members, law enforcement officials, businesses, and faith and community leaders have become increasingly vocal about the urgency of reform because we see the real world repercussions. We see the U.S. citizen children ending up in foster care because of the Obama Administration’s detention and deportation policies.

We are reluctantly willing to accept a piecemeal approach, but House leadership must recognize the reality that there are many parts to our immigration system and they all must be addressed, improved, and updated or the broken status quo will remain.

As we finish off this year, I will continue to hold Speaker Boehner and the rest of House leadership responsible for the fact that as yet, immigration reform has not received a vote on the House floor.  I will continue to advocate for action, rather than stasis.

Respectfully Mr. Speaker, on immigration reform, our country needs you to lead, follow, or get out of the way.


  • An Alternative Perspective by Ken Rinzler

    Dear Colleagues:
    Only because I was fairly confident it would prove amusing (in a sad way), I read yesterday’s letter to the Speaker referred to above. I was not disappointed.
    As I have consistently said, whatever we pay these people at national, it’s too much.
    First, the condescending tone used towards the holder of the third highest elective office in the land is just pitiful. “We will continue to hold you responsible”? Does AILA think it’s talking to a five year old, and that if he doesn’t comply he will be grounded? Whether you agree with his politics or not, the Speaker is responding to the wishes of the majority in the House, and AILA’s false assertion of its “[understanding of] the political difficulties involved in the immigrate debate” is just so hollow (or naïve?) that it simply reaffirms the view that AILA is clueless when it comes to how Capitol Hill operates.
    Next, and as always, AILA is willing to sacrifice changes to any aspect of immigration law (business, family, resources devoted to processing, etc.) unless Congress approves an amnesty. This has consistently proven to be a road to failure (one which I have no problem with, as you all know, but that’s not my point here). AILA never uses the word “amnesty”, however, always preferring euphemisms and politically correct phrases such as “CIR” or “legalization” or “a path to citizenship”, etc. The letter states that an “overwhelming majority of Americans support common sense immigration reform”, without defining what “common sense” means, although we all know that with AILA it means amnesty. This is all the more amusing as AILA has never polled its own membership as to what we consider the most important, let alone “common sense”, immigration reform issues, and so to purport to speak for what all “available evidence” indicates for the entire country is just a lie.
    In fact, common sense would dictate that if the overwhelming majority of America supported AILA’s call for amnesty above all else, then it would have happened long ago.
    Last, AILA sends a letter to the Speaker of the House which closes by saying that should the Speaker have a question, he should contact not the signatories to the letter, but a much lower level staff member. Yes, I’m sure the Speaker will be calling Mr. Chen any day now.
    I shudder to think that – political differences over the need for amnesty aside – AILA purports to speak for me on Capitol Hill with such a letter. You should too.

  • mkolken

    The Senate immigration Bill is not a solution that AILA should live with. The only hope we have of meaningful reform is to embrace a piecemeal approach in the House.

    The following video breaks down some of the major problems with the Senate reform legislation and should be watched by every member of this organization: http://bit.ly/19h9vNs