By Alexander Bolton - 06/26/14 10:22 AM EDT
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Thursday marked the anniversary of the passage of comprehensive immigration reform in the Senate and slammed the House for doing nothing on the issue.
“Today marks the 365th day that the Tea Party-driven House of Representatives has sat on their hands refusing to fix our broken immigration system,” Reid said on the floor. “The Senate was able to pass immigration reform 52 weeks ago because both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate understood the urgent need to mend our nation’s immigration laws.”
Proponents of overhauling the nation’s immigration laws and granting legal status to millions of illegal immigrants had expressed hope the House would act after most of this year’s Republican primaries had concluded.
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), the lead author of the Senate’s immigration bill, said at the start of June that the House had until the end of July to act or the issue would not move this year.
On Thursday, Reid increased the pressure.
“It appears to me the Republicans want more deportations, more families torn apart. But, Mr. President, do they also want more debt?” Reid asked, addressing his comments to the Senate chair. “Immigration reform will reduce the debt by $1 trillion.”
Outgoing House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) stunning loss in his primary earlier this month dealt a severe blow to the immigration reform effort in the House. Cantor had authored the House’s immigration reform principles and was working on legislation to grant legal status to illegal immigrants who came to the country at a young age. His conservative opponent made immigration the top issue of their race.
Reid said “extremists” in the GOP have taken over the party’s immigration reform platform.
He knocked a recent proposal by House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) calling on President Obama to resume deporting illegal immigrants who came to the country as children and have stayed in good standing.
“There isn’t anyone that believes this country can fiscally or physically deport 11 million people,” he said, referring to the estimated number of illegal immigrants.