Menendez: Time is running out for immigration reform

 

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) said House inaction on immigration reform is hurting the U.S. economy.

“Republicans are acting as if nothing is at stake, as if there is no cost and they could not be more wrong,” Menendez said on the Senate floor Wednesday. “The leadership in the House has the chance to be heroes.”

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Menendez, who was part of the “Gang of Eight” that negotiated the bipartisan immigration reform bill that passed in the Senate nearly a year ago, said his bill would increase gross domestic product (GDP) by $80 billion, reduce the deficit by more than $150 billion over 10 years.

“They’re balking at achieving one of their most fundamental principles,” Menendez said of Republicans. “We’re waiting for reason to prevail — for our Republican friends in the other body to once and for all do what’s right and think about the cost of inaction — not only in dollars and cents – but in the lives of families and the future of this nation.”

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has refused to allow a vote in the House of the Senate-passed measure drawing criticism from Democrats and even some Republicans. 

The Senate bill would provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrations, increase the number of worker and student visas, and heighten border security. But conservative Republicans argue the bill would harm an already weak economy by increasing unemployment among U.S. citizens.

Menendez said Boehner had only two months to act since both chambers will recess for the month of August and get little done before the November election.

“Time is not on our side. There is a limited window of opportunity,” Menendez said. “We only have about another month or two for the Speaker to act. So it is in the Speaker’s hands.”

Menendez said inaction would harm the Republican Party, which is “tone-deaf” to the public wants.