Mario Diaz-Balart, a Republican representing Miami in the House of Representatives, broke ranks with the GOP on Thursday after meeting with House leadership and being assured that there is no chance of passing immigration reform during this session. They were only confirming what has been obvious for some time now; the Senate passed a bi-partisan reform bill a year ago only to watch it die awaiting approval in the House.
After confirming that reform is out of the question this year, Diaz-Balart told reporters at a press conference:
“It is disappointing and highly unfortunate, because we have a unique opportunity to secure the borders, fix our broken immigration system, and strengthen our economy.”
He went on to say that it was “irresponsible not to deal with the issue” no matter how Congressional Republicans or anyone else feels about the President or what he termed his failure to “enforce current law,” referring to Speaker John Boehner’s insistence that he and his fellow Republicans would like to pass such a bill but that they cannot trust the President to enforce the law.
Diaz-Balart is understandably upset. He has been working for months to craft an immigration reform bill and solicit support for it only to hear two weeks ago that there would be no vote this year on any reform bill and having it confirmed when he spoke to leaders on Thursday.
He said that it didn’t matter if it was when Nancy Pelosi was speaker or now with Republicans in control. By blocking reform, Congress was “abdicating our duty.”
“I hope that in the near future, leadership will reconsider and allow my legislation to come to the floor,” he said. “I for one am not willing to give up and will continue to work until we can finally fix a broken immigration system that everyone recognizes is dysfunctional.”
It is clear that something must be done to fix this dysfunctional system sooner rather than later and simply saying that the President cannot be trusted to enforce the law is like leaving the front doors unlocked because the burglars will just break the lock or a window anyway.