U.S. House should approve Senate's immigration bill

July 11, 2013 

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, speaks with Parrish residents at a recent "town hall meeting" at the Parrish Community Center. FILE PHOTO/JESSICA DE LEON/Bradenton Herald

There are 11 million undocumented aliens in the United States. This threatens national security and is bad for the economy.

The U.S. Senate passed the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S.744), the amended "Gang of Eight" comprehensive immigration reform bill, on June 27, 2013. The vote was 68 to 32, with 14 Republicans joining the 52 Democrats and two independents in voting "yea."

On July 3, the Congressional Budget Office released revised estimates of the impacts of S.744. The bill would decrease federal deficits by $158 billion in 2014 through 2023 and by $685 billion over the following decade. And S.744 would also reduce projected net inflow of unauthorized residents by one-third to one-half compared with current law. Further, the Congressional Budget Office previously estimated that such immigration reform would increase gross domestic product by 3.3 percent by 2023 and 5.4 percent by 2033.

No one likes the bill; many support it. To some arch-conservatives, amnesty is a dirty word. S.744 provides a road to citizenship for many of the 11 million illegal immigrants.

On the other hand, to some immigrant rights groups, the bill is unnecessarily punitive. S.744 will double border agents to 40,000, add 700 miles of fencing on the southern border and even expand use of drones, all of which may lead to unnecessary deaths.

If Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Marco Rubio (R-FL), both leading proponents, can manage to agree that S.744 is a good thing, the rest of us should join this spirit of compromise. Immigration reform now rests with the House of Representatives. Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-LBK), are you listening?

Jan Schneider

Sarasota

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