2013 Immigration Reform: House Dems To Sell Overhaul Bill As Deficit Reduction

 @LauraMatt
on September 06 2013 10:40 AM
  • Immigration rally Latinos US April 2013
    Latinos protest in favor of comprehensive immigration reform on Capitol Hill in Washington, 2013. Reuters
  • Xavier Becerra
    Becerra is a Democratic congressman from California. becerra.house.gov/
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The Republican focus on deficit reduction may be just what immigration advocates need to get a reform bill passed in the House -- at least, that's what prominent pro-immigration Democrat Rep. Xavier Becerra of California is claiming.

Becerra is a member of the House’s “Gang of Seven,” which is working on a comprehensive immigration overhaul bill it hopes to introduce in October. Becerra believes his party's immigration reform plan tackles two big issues that will be before Congress this fall with a single strike.

The congressman tried this tactic before in previous deficit reduction discussions with little effect, but he thinks the timing for reintroducing them is better now due to the momentum Congress has gained in its pursuit of immigration reform and the close deadline Congress faces to raise the debt limit and prevent a government shutdown.

“Each issue is looking for some locomotion, and I certainly think any time you can add a trillion dollars of deficit reduction to fiscal negotiations, that’s pretty big,” Becerra told Roll Call. “And any time you can also give a jump-start to the reluctance of some on the Republican side to move on fixing the economy at the same time, I think that’s gotta help.”

The report said Becerra is gaging how his Democratic colleague feel about his move and could likely mention it to the other side after the recess.

Congress must pass a formal budget or a temporary appropriations bill known as a continuing resolution by Sept. 30 to keep the government’s funding flowing -- or else face a government shutdown. Almost immediately after that it must increase the debt ceiling by mid-October, according to estimates from the Treasury Department.

A Congressional Budget Office analysis of the Senate-passed comprehensive immigration reform bill showed that it would reduce illegal entry by 50 percent if enacted. It also said that the bill provide a net saving of more than $100 billion in its first decade and about $685 billion in its second, should it become law. The savings would come from the influx of newly legalized immigrants, who would begin paying federal taxes, bringing in new revenue.

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