Immigration Reform is the next issue that Village Square will take up. The date is Sept. 19, from 6-8:15 p.m. at the Conference Center of the Seminole campus. When we identified this as a priority for Village Square earlier in the summer, we were concerned that events might overtake us that Congress might have had the debate, taken a vote, and disposed of this controversy for the foreseeable future. That looked more likely when the Senate passed the comprehensive immigration reform bill on June 27 by a 68-32 vote.

Not likely. The House appears to be in no hurry to take up the Senate bill. On July 10 House Republicans overwhelmingly decided not to consider the 844-page bill. So we arent worried about this issue becoming somewhat moot by early Fall. Indeed, with the House leadership apparently dug in against the bipartisan Senate measure, immigration is likely to be with us as a heated debate for a long time.

House opposition appears to be related to mistrust of the White House. The Obama administration cannot be trusted to deliver on its promises to secure the border and enforce laws as part of a single, massive bill like the one passed by the Senate, the New York Times reported, quoting a statement issued after the meeting. (http://nyti.ms/14O14Jo) House leaders prefer to deal with immigration by a piecemeal process, considering several individual bills rather than the comprehensive package approved by the Senate. Among the first concerns of House members is border security and enforcement, followed by full compliance with the E-Verify system of electronic verification by employers of workers legal status. A path to citizenship for the 11 million-plus undocumented workers now in the U.S. would be far down the GOP list of immigration priorities.

Their position was announced on the same day that former President George W. Bush, a Republican, spoke publicly in favor of immigration reform. Saying The laws governing the immigration system arent working; the system is broken, President Bush expressed hope for a positive resolution to the debate, and urged that during the debate, we keep a benevolent spirit in mind, and we understand the contributions immigrants make to our country. (http://nyti.ms/12sRD2l)

Watch this space for more details on our September forum, coming soon.

David Klement, Executive Director

Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions

St. Petersburg College