A number of House leaders have said they plan to consider immigration reform in a “step-by-step” process, one bill at a time. I believe this is the right way to address immigration policy changes, through step-by-step legislation, with individual reform measures first implemented and then verified in the proper sequence.
I am concerned, however, that the House will pass individual, incremental bills only to have them cobbled together in a backroom deal with Majority Leader Reid and the Gang of Eight. Through a series of procedural maneuvers, House leaders could agree to begin negotiations with the Senate, known as a conference, using one of these smaller, targeted bills, while the Senate could bring the Gang of Eight bill to the negotiations.
This scenario would open the back door for congressional leaders to create a massive new amnesty-first, enforcement-later “comprehensive” immigration bill that, once approved by the conference, could not be amended and would only require an up-or-down vote to be sent to the president.
If House members allow any of their proposals to be combined into an omnibus immigration bill, they would, in effect, allow White House strategists and their special interest allies to determine the final outcome of immigration much the way they shaped the creation of the original Gang of Eight bill.
The right way to do immigration reform is to address specific issues – like border security, visa reform, interior enforcement, and workplace verification – in targeted bills, then implement each reform and report on its progress before moving on to the next step.