The president’s executive action on immigration reform should be instructive for the GOP as the leadership enacts a governing agenda in the new Congress. The lesson here is the president’s “go it alone” immigration actions do little to solve the inherent problems holding back progress and growth. The actions of the White House are the political equivalent of a playground bully calling out the student council at recess to a fist fight among themselves. The only result will be unsightly scrapes and bruises and everyone except the bully serving detention. The GOP should not take the bait, but use the rebuke of the White House message from the 2014 mid-term elections as a rallying cry for credible reform.
Lucky for all of us, statesmen like Speaker Boehner know there has never been a more opportune time than now for Congressional Republicans to take the lead and tackle head-on the critical issue of immigration reform. GOP leaders in both chambers have a golden opportunity now to fix this problem and improve the economy.
Immigration reform encompasses economic, social and political issues that cannot be fixed in one bill. One-size-fits-all comprehensive immigration legislation is a bridge too far for many House members. Of course, real leaders are not swayed by the president’s executive-action high jinks. The true leaders who want to govern for the people know the only path to immigration reform is to move individual pieces of reform legislation through the next Congress.
Our GOP leaders cannot ignore the enormous and quantifiable contributions of a legal immigrant workforce. Take Ohio’s agricultural industry for example. Because many Americans are increasingly choosing other fields of work, farmers struggle to find the temporary labor needed for critical “hands-on” farm jobs. The visa process for hiring immigrant employees is burdensome and costly, making it unfeasible for small- and medium-sized farms. The problem is nationwide.