“Migrationist Monthly” is a new series on The Migrationist. Once a month, we’ll be offering you a rundown of that month’s immigration news for selected countries in 500 words or less.
At the end of last month, the Republican principles on immigration reform were released to a lot of fanfare and hope that immigration reform might be moving forward in the House. A week later, Speaker Boehner (R-OH) retreated, saying that “There’s widespread doubt about whether this administration can be trusted to enforce our laws…It’s going to be difficult to move any immigration legislation until that changes.” Senator Schumer (D-NY) responded to this first with a suggestion that any immigration reform not go into effect until after Obama left office, then suggested a discharge petition for the House. (A discharge petition is a legislative tactic that is used by the minority party. It would bring immigration reform to the floor, but would need more than 20 Republicans willing to stand up to party leadership to do so.)
The new U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson gave a talk at the Wilson Center, and he was largely positive on moving forward on immigration reform, saying that from a homeland security perspective, he’d rather have undocumented immigrants come forward, go through a security check, and pay taxes.
The House Judiciary Committee had a hearing about “asylum fraud,” which emphasized the Obama administration’s failure to address asylum fraud. The statistics on fraud that prompted the hearing were from a report that used data from 2005, before Obama was in office. Another hearing out of the same committee, titled “Enforcing the President’s Constitutional Duty to Faithfully Execute the Laws,” continued the Republican party line of mistrust towards the administration. The hearing brought up the two year old DACA program repeatedly as an example of executive abuse of power, despite the fact that the Republican principles proposed a very similar program.
Meanwhile, grassroots immigration groups are putting pressure on Obama to end deportations through executive action. Despite the Republican perspective, deportations under Obama are higher than they were under Bush. However, any executive action would play right into the current Republican rhetoric of lack of enforcement and may be what the Republican party is attempting to preempt. Furthermore, according to Marshall Fitz of the Center for American Progress, “The more [Obama] does, the less likely we are to get legislation, which is the goal of both the White House and those on the outside pushing for an end to deportations.”
On the state level, there’s a mixed bag of immigration reform. Several state legislatures are developing bills that would allow in-state tuition to DREAMers, while Fremont, Nebraska upheld anti-immigrant housing ordinances, a Kansas lawmaker proposed tracking the citizenship status of school children in the state, and a Georgia bill is in the works to prevent DACA recipients from receiving driver’s licenses.
The short of it all is that the talk at the moment on the federal level is all about politics, less about policy, and even less about actual action. This will likely be the name of the game until after the majority of the primaries for the midterm elections are over.
 The committee in the U.S. House of Representatives responsible for immigration.