CORRECTION: At least two immigration-related bills cleared the GOP-controlled U.S. House this session, so I erred below in writing that none did. One responded to the crisis created by the young migrants crossing the border. It would have boosted border security, legal processing, and support. Another would have provided more visas for immigrant students with math and science skills and reduced the number of visas for other immigrants. I discussed this bill here. Sorry for the mistake.
It’s tough to fact-check an entire debate, if you’re an increasingly lonely reporter at a shrinking news outlet, but a journalist somewhere should have corrected Rep. Mike Coffman’s assertion, in his debate last week against Democrat Andrew Romanoff, that immigration bills cleared the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
In explaining his opposition to a bipartisan immigration bill passed by the U.S. Senate, Coffman said (@21:45):
“I think both parties have it wrong right now. I think on the left it’s, unless we get everything, then nothing will move. And in fact, individual bills have moved over to the Senate. And Harry Reid would not take it up because it was not quote-unquote comprehensive. And then on my side of the aisle, you know, we’ve got to get moving. And I’ve worked with my folks on the Republican side to get them moving. And so I think there’s got to be a middle path. And that middle path is a step-by-step approach.” [BigMedia emphasis]
Coffman would have had a complete and total brain freeze if he’d tried to remember how he voted on these immigration “bills,” because they don’t exist.
He’d have been wrong even if he’d said a singular immigration bill cleared the U.S. House. But he said “bills” plural, multiplying his apparent mistake.
A phone call to Coffman’s spokesman, Tyler Sandberg, seeking clarification was not immediately returned.
So we’re forced to speculate that possibly Coffman was referring to a bill that would have stopped undocumented immigrants from accessing the child tax credit. But no reasonable person would call this immigration reform.
And Coffman opposed the bill that would have overturned President Obama’s order allowing young undocumented immigrants to avoid deportation. So presumably, Coffman wouldn’t want Sen. Reid to push this bill through the Senate.
Coffman himself made a big deal a year ago about supporting “comprehensive” immigration reform, but now he’s calling for a step-by-step approach. But he has yet to define, in any meaningful and specific way, the legislation or steps he supports to reform immigration.
Romanoff, who supports the Senate immigration bill, said as much during the debate, when he pointed out that Coffman’s “step-by-step” won’t work if steps aren’t taken.
The Senate took a big bi-partisan step. Coffman says the House has taken steps too. What are they? And if I’m right and they don’t exist, what should the steps be, Mike? What steps were you imagining?