No action soon on immigration, voting rights act, House Judiciary Committee chair says


McClatchy Washington Bureau

The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee said Thursday not to expect action soon from the Republican-controlled House of Representatives torevamp the nation’s immigration laws or repair the Voting Rights Act, which was weakened by a Supreme Court decision last year.

Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., told reporters at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor that Republicans won’t move an immigration overhaul until the Obama administration begins to strictly enforce current immigration laws.

‘The environment for doing this is exceedingly difficult,’ Goodlatte said. He blamed Obama for the surge of unaccompanied immigrant children coming across the U.S.-Mexico border.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Il., a leading proponent of revamping immigration laws, said Wednesday that the effort to get a bill through Congress is effectively dead.

‘Nothing’s going to happen,’ Gutierrez told The Washington Post Wednesday. ‘My point of view is, this is over…Every day, they (Republicans) become not recalcitrant but even more energetically opposed to working with us. How many times does someone have to say no until you understand they mean no?’

Goodlatte was equally pessimistic about the prospects of a Voting Rights Act remedy passing Congress this year. A bipartisan, bicameral bill authored last January by Reps. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., and John Conyers, D-Mich., and Senate Judiciary Committee Patrick Leahy,D-Vt., has languished since it was introduced earlier this year. Leahy’s committee held its first hearing on the bill on Wednesday.

Last year, the Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, a formula that decided which states and jurisdictions with histories of violating voter rights would have to get federal consent before making any changes to their voting laws. The court called the formula outdated.

The court decision weakened other pillars of the landmark Voting Rights Act and civil rights advocates, civil liberties groups, and several lawmakers have been pressing Congress to repair the act before November’s elections.

‘There is a great deal of dispute in many quarters as to how this should be addressed,’ Goodlatte told reporters.


Read more Politics Wires stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category