Editorial: Pushing that rock

In the hands of Congress, immigration reform could be a modern retelling of the Greek myth of Sisyphus.

The story goes that Sisyphus offended the gods and therefore spent the rest of his life pushing a rock up a hill. Each time he reached the top, despite his best efforts, the rock rolled to the bottom and he had to start over again.

Americans have been told that the nation’s immigration problem, particularly the influx of illegal immigrants is insoluble. It’s hard to argue that point, given there’s an estimated 11 million undocumented men, women and children living and working in the U.S.

Congress has been trying to find the appropriate answer, one that reduces the number of people entering the country illegally while figuring out an answer of what to do with people who are illegally here and yet want to become American citizens, for years.

But any honest efforts to solve the problem have been hampered by a constant barrage of ideological name calling and obstructionism.

Here’s where we see Congress taking on the role of Sisyphus ... every time there seems to be a chance that the immigration reform “rock” might reach the top and over, it comes rolling back to its starting point.

The so-called “Gang of Eight” senators from both sides of the aisle have been working on bipartisan immigration reform legislation. No one should see this package as a flawless solution. But flaws and all, it would move the rock over the hill.

This effort got a boost when the Congressional Budget Office figured the economic impact of the possible legislation. What the CBO found is that reform would aid the nation, reducing the federal deficit while providing a shot in the arm to the economy through growth in work force, savings and consumer spending. Put into numbers, the report says with the legislation, direct spending would increase by $262 billion and revenues would soar by $459
billion over the same decade. As to the federal deficit, it is projected to go down by almost $200 billion.

That all sounds good to us. And even if we’re not too taken with some aspects of the bill, like $3.2 billion in technology upgrades for the type of equipment used by U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. But that shouldn’t be considered a deal breaker since the nature of the game is compromise.

Yet for some in the Senate and the House just talking about compromise IS a deal breaker.

They’re not happy with the possibility with the way the bill opens up the path of citizenship to those illegal immigrants already here. In the Senate, such people as Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama or Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas are among those who have been trying to halt the effort in its tracks. And while their work in the Senate may not keep the bill from going to a vote, looming as the force to push the rock back down is the House of Representatives, where Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has issued the threat that the measure might not even make it to the floor unless a majority of House Republicans approve the measure.

Should that happen, the nation is back where it began.

And as Sen. Marco Rubio, Fla-R, said, “... if nothing passes, then this disaster that we have now, that’s what’s going to stay in place.”

That should be unacceptable.

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