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The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimated this reform would reduce the U.S. deficit by $197 billion

One of the major divisions that cause immense concern among us is the issues surrounding immigration policy. The last time Congress dealt with the subject was in 1996. How do we resolve this conflict now?

In 2013, SB 744, The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, was created by a group of eight United States senators. Composed of four Republicans and four Democrats, then known as the "Gang of Eight," the bipartisan bill passed the Senate with a vote of 82-15.

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimated this reform would reduce the U.S. deficit by $197 billion over ten years and by $700 billion by 2033. The Social Security Administration said it would add $276 billion over the next ten years while costing only $33 billion. The economics certainly made sense and while the numbers may change, the basic results would likely be the same.

The Senate made four statements of principles explaining the need for reform. "(1) The passage of this Act recognizes that the primary tenets of its success depend on securing the sovereignty of the United States of America and establishing a coherent and just system for integrating those who seek to join American society (2) We have a right, and duty, to maintain and secure our borders, and to keep our country safe and prosperous. As a nation founded, built, and sustained by immigrants we also have a responsibility to harness the power of that tradition in a balanced way that secures a more prosperous future for America. (3) We have always welcomed newcomers to the United States and will continue to do so. But in order to qualify for the honor and privilege of eventual citizenship, our laws must be followed. The world depends on America to be strong — economically, militarily and ethically. The establishment of a stable, just and efficient immigration system only supports those goals. As a nation, we have the right and responsibility to make our borders safe, to establish clear and just rules for seeking citizenship, to control the flow of legal immigration, and to eliminate illegal immigration, which in some cases has become a threat to our national security. (4) All parts of this Act are premised on the right and need of the United States to achieve these goals, and to protect its borders and maintain its sovereignty".

The bill then went to House Speaker John Boehner, where upon arrival, it died because of conservative member demands. The bill was never debated or voted on. Automatic gridlock by a minority! Bills are rarely acceptable to every politician but that is why we have compromises. American's low rating of Congress is because of their lack of ability to work together in OUR interest.

If this bill was reintroduced, the current House would debate and vote. In the Senate, it is impossible to know what would happen, as once again we have one-man rule. The system isn't allowing the democratic process to work. It should be sent to the ashcan of history! To stimulate their base, both parties have kicked the problem down the road. I urge you to read the bill and demand a review and compromise.

Larry Chadwick is a Lake Oswego resident.


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