New Year’s resolution: Fix our economy

We all start each new year with resolutions that usually last a few weeks, and sometimes a few months, depending on our commitment. Some of us choose to lose weight. Others pledge to get more organized, spend more time with family or rid ourselves of bad habits.

Republicans are once again showing that they cannot support common-sense solutions that would grow good-paying, middle class jobs, when it comes to immigration. Their New Year’s resolution appears to be doubling down on the failed immigration policies of the past six years.

This month marks the start of a new Congress with an opportunity for New Year’s resolutions. Some easy ones that come to mind are more bipartisanship, more solutions to pending challenges we face as a nation and, of course, we could all eat a little healthier and spend more time at the gym. But as the Republican House majority begins to establish its agenda for the new Congress, it is clear that some of us just can’t kick our bad habits.

For Republicans, everything starts and ends with enforcement-only policies and attempts to undermine the president. After nearly shutting down the government in December, Republicans have decided that it is better to continue to be the party of “no,” rather than attempt to actually govern.

Time after time, research has shown that fixing the entire immigration system is the only way to truly grow our economy and secure our borders. We would have the opportunity to bring millions out of the shadows, including a woman I was proud to invite to watch President Obama’s State of the Union address this week.

Olga Cordero is an undocumented worker in my district who has owned her own businesses for more than 15 years. She has created jobs and put money back into our economy, and her four kids are working to put themselves through school, so they can live their American dream.

People like Olga are why comprehensive immigration reform would supercharge our economy by creating more than 100,000 jobs a year over the next 10 years and reducing our deficit by $900 billion. When 11 million small-business owners and consumers come out of the shadows, America wins.

Last Congress, a bipartisan group of 68 Senators agreed and passed comprehensive immigration reform in the Senate. Instead of passing a similar bill in the House, we only heard empty promises from Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) followed by enforcement-only votes and repeated efforts to oppose the president’s attempts to solve the problem.

Because of Republican unwillingness to grow our economy and fix our broken immigration system, the president took action this fall. Through executive action, Obama took fair, legal and straightforward steps to move our country forward by keeping workers who have proven their worth working hard in this country; allowing children who know only one home the opportunity to stay here and contribute to society; and encouraging students who study at our colleges to remain here and put their new skills to work through innovation and building the businesses of the future.

The president was left with no choice but to act alone.

After years of needless delay, Republicans could rethink their approach and move forward on having an actual debate on comprehensive immigration reform. Instead, we can all see the lines being drawn for the 2016 presidential election. Speaker Boehner is allowing far-right Republicans to define the party’s agenda.

Stop the president. Crush economic growth. Close the border. Deport families and hard workers before you focus on criminals.

This is the platform of the Republican Party when it comes to immigration.

Republicans have recommitted to blocking any positive, comprehensive action on fixing a system we all admit is broken.

For the next two years, the Republican solution to separated families, small businesses lacking employees, farms without enough farm workers, American university-trained talent departing overseas, and a slowed economy as a result of 11 million potential consumers being left in the shadows will be to continue with the same bad habits.

My colleagues on the other side of the aisle have started the new year with a resolution: to double down on failure.

For the sake of our families, workers and businesses, it is a resolution that needs to be broken.

Cárdenas has represented California’s 29th Congressional District since 2013.