Miami Rep. Diaz-Balart: Decision to give up on immigration legislation ‘highly irresponsible’

 

McClatchy Washington Bureau

U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, a Republican from Miami, sharply criticized the decision to give up on immigration legislation this year.

In a press conference Thursday afternoon, Diaz-Balart said he had been informed by House leadership earlier in the day that legislation he pushed that would have led to a path to citizenship for immigrants already in the U.S. was dead this year.

His legislation, he said, would have acknowledged that “we are not going to spend tens of billions of dollars to roundup and deport millions of undocumented workers who have been here for many years.” It would have required those who came to the U.S. illegally to earn legal status.

“It is an efficient and effective approach that is good for the American economy and fair to the people who came here legally,” he said.

But on Thursday, he said, he was informed by the Republican leadership that they have no intention to bring the bill to the House floor in 2014.

“It is disappointing and highly unfortunate,” he said.

He added it was “highly irresponsible not to deal with the issue.”

“We were sent here by the American people precisely to tackle difficult issues and not to take the easy way out,” he said. “By blocking reform, whether it was when Nancy Pelosi was speaker or now, we are in effect abdicating our duty. Particularly when we have a president that is willing to unilaterally act through executive action, that he himself has said is legally circumspect, will not provide a long-term solution to our immigration system, and I believe could even make it worse.”

Giving up on broad immigration legislation wasn’t a surprise to much of Washington, as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle said last month that the issue was effectively dead and unlikely to be pursued until after President Barack Obama left office. The issue shows the divide in a GOP that is trying to appeal both to Latino voters and business leaders who favor legalization and the tea party wing of the party that doesn’t endorse any mass legalization efforts.

As for the possibility of the bill’s success, Diaz-Balart had been optimistic.

“I feel absolutely confident that we had the support of the majority – the majority – of the House Republican conference, and also a very strong group of Democrats,” he said after delivering his prepared comments in both English and Spanish.

Read more Politics Wires stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
Former Washington photo editor Toby Massey, right, and Florida photo editor Phil Sandlin, left, edit photos at Kennedy Space Center during an early Space Shuttle launch as photograher Steve Pyle, rear,  coordninates transmissions with New York.   Massey, a photographer and photo editor who directed coverage of presidents and political conventions as well as natural disasters, the space program and sporting events during a 38-year career with The Associated Press, died Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014. He was 80.

    Former AP photo editor Toby Massey dies

    Toby Massey, a photographer and photo editor who directed coverage of presidents and political conventions as well as natural disasters, the space program and sporting events during a 38-year career with The Associated Press, died Thursday. He was 80.

  •  
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, under indictment on two felony counts, is in the nation’s capital to deliver a speech at The Heritage Foundation about the border crisis plaguing his state on Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014, in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/MCT)

    Inside conservative fold, Perry talks of indictment, immigration

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry, fresh from his recent indictment on charges of abusing the powers of his office, told a conservative audience Thursday that the “porous” southern border provides an entry point for Islamic terrorists to strike in the United States.

  • Supreme Court referee hears linebacker's case

    Lawyers for the University of Oklahoma and a junior linebacker have met with an Oklahoma Supreme Court referee who will recommend whether the state Supreme Court should hear his case against the university.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

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