Goodlatte and the Gang of Eight

by Andrew Stiles

On the homepage, I note that some opponents of the Gang of Eight immigration reform bill are perplexed as to why Representative Bob Goodlatte (R., Va.), chairman of the House Judiciary committee, has become somewhat of a lone voice in an immigration debate that appears to have fizzled out. Because their primary goal is preventing a conference committee, which they believe could facilitate an unfavorable compromise with the Senate, these opponents are skeptical of Goodlatte’s efforts to pass immigration legislation in the House, and are particularly concerned by his expressed support for a bill that would grant legal status to illegal immigrants, and allow many of them to apply for citizenship. 

An aide on the House Judiciary Committee pushed back against these concerns, noting that the chairman opposes to the ”fundamentally flawed and unworkable” Senate bill, and has outlined his objections in detail on his website

“Among his many concerns, the Senate bill gives a legal status before enforcement is up and operating, provides a special pathway to citizenship for those who have broken our immigration laws, and allows the president to waive many, if not most, of the bill’s interior enforcement requirements,” the aide told National Review Online, adding that Goodlatte “has never been and is not now an advocate for comprehensive immigration reform—he supports a step-by-step approach,” and is intent on ”carefully and methodically reviewing each component in detail so that we get immigration reform right.”  

The committee has already approved four individual bills dealing with border security, interior immigration enforcement, guest workers, and high-tech visas. “Once the House majority is satisfied we have gotten the components right, we will proceed to consideration on the House floor,” the aide said. ”However, any final product must reflect conservative principles and be supported by a majority of the House Republican majority, as Speaker Boehner has emphatically stated.”

House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) has promised to uphold the so-called “Hastert Rule” with respect to immigration-reform legislation in the House, and has extended that pledge to include a potential conference report.