Immigration issue cannot be put off

Before Congress adjourned for the Fourth of July, the United States Senate again failed to move forward on a bill that aimed to overhaul the nation’s immigration system. While there is some dispute as to exactly why the bill died, the more pressing question arose out of comments made by many people, both identified and anonymous, that indicated that one of this country’s most controversial issues will not be discussed again until after the 2008 elections.

Some opponents of the bill said the American people “won” with the bill’s demise. The argument that this bill would have made the problem worse is small consolation to those who have pushed for reform for more than two years. While the political calculus of the vote would logically point to this particular bill’s lack of viability, what it does not do is prove that the American people think this issue can wait for what will be another two years.

There seems to be a disconnect between the rhetoric of some lawmakers and their actions. While this is certainly nothing new in politics, their actions, or lack thereof, are particularly troubling.

If the problem of illegal immigration is as serious as some say it is, then why aren’t more congressmen calling for the debate to be renewed?

If this bill’s fatal flaw was that it tried to do too much, then what’s wrong with tackling one issue at a time?

It seems quite disingenuous to be using the defeat of an immigration bill that almost had a realistic chance of passing as proof that the government was “doing something about immigration.”

Nothing was done about it and the problem remains. That it will be so conveniently pushed off the political radar seems to undermine how serious the issue is in the first place.

In the meantime, it is only false hope that the situation will be much different after the election. And if lawmakers continue to cry wolf over immigration but don’t act on it, don’t expect us to keep listening.