Every two years, Congressman Jeff Denham leaves his Virginia home and shows up in California to run his immigration shell and pea game.
In the shell and pea game, the object is to follow the pea while it’s supposedly concealed under a shell. The scam is that the operator of the game hides the pea in his hand and only places it under a shell after a player has pointed to another shell and lost the bet. In Jeff Denham’s immigration shell game, the pea is immigration reform and the shells are Republican leadership and the months and years between elections.
Here’s how it works: Because Jeff Denham’s California Congressional District 10 (CA-10) is about 40% Latino, Denham needs to appear willing to work for fair immigration policies.
CA-10 is heavily dependent on agriculture; in Stanislaus County alone, AG revenues amount to around $3 billion yearly. So the CA-10 economy, which includes almost all of Stanislaus County as well as parts of San Joaquin County, is also heavily dependent on farm labor, a large proportion of which is performed by illegal immigrants.
Every election year, Jeff Denham makes a pretense in favor of immigration reform. His pitch always includes a mix of humane treatment for hard working immigrants and stricter enforcement along the border. It’s a winning combination, but somehow it never happens, and Jeff Denham knows why.
The first and most obvious reason immigration reform never happens is Paul Ryan, who today just happens to be the majority Speaker of the House of Representatives. Jeff Denham has consistently supported Paul Ryan at every opportunity, but as far back as 2012, Paul Ryan insisted there would be no immigration reform under Barack Obama; he repeated the pledge in 2015.
In 2013, a bipartisan group of senators known as “The Gang of Eight”—it consisted of four Democrats and four Republicans—wrote the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013.” The immigration reform act passed in the Senate by a strong bipartisan vote of 68-32. However, Paul Ryan and then Speaker of the House John Boehner made sure it was never brought to a vote in the House of Representatives, and it thus expired at the end of the 113th Congress.
See the pattern? Ever since Jeff Denham was elected to the House of Representatives in 2010, he’s supported immigration reform that NEVER happens. But Denham’s shell game on immigration is even worse than it looks at first glance.
Publicly, Jeff Denham supports the DREAM Act of 2017, which would provide a pathway to citizenship for immigrants who came to the United States as children and are thus technically illegal. But Denham also supports Paul Ryan and Donald Trump, both of whom not only oppose the DREAM Act, but who support deporting illegal immigrants immediately.
And as for Donald Trump’s and Jeff Sessions’ “Zero Tolerance” immigration policy that has separated families and isolated children, Jeff Denham told CNN, “Not only is this current policy unacceptable, but the optics of pulling kids away from their parents is horrible for any party.”
Yes, the “optics” of cruelty is horrible, but so is the shell and pea game that enables Jeff Denham to appear moderate on immigration while supporting Republican Party leaders he knows will either make sure nothing happens to change immigration policy, or, more recently, impose “unacceptable alternatives.”
Jeff Denham has had eight years—the equivalent of two presidential terms—to achieve immigration reform. He’s failed to do so even with bipartisan support because during his time in Congress Jeff Denham has supported Republican leadership dedicated to the status quo or to cruel policies that hurt both people and the economy by deporting hard-working immigrants. It’s a shell and pea game.
Damon Woods says
The interesting thought here- is From 2010 to 2016, the Democrats owned the majority – while having a Democratic President. This is the same party that today- is highly concerned about Immigration reform, but during the last 2 8 year terms of office for a Democratic president (Obama and Clinton), no such reform was passed. I would offer to the public here, is this Jeff Denham’s fault that the Democrats- when in power make promises but never deliver? Why is it that the news outlets all are in favor of the Socialistic Democrats, but when a republican idea surfaces, it is quickly squashed as being a bad idea…….this is a notice to all the voters in this area- the Democrats will be bussing in hundreds of their campaigners from the Bay Area to defeat Denham- these are the same Democrats who brought us the ‘Delta Tunnels, Bullet Train to no where, highest road taxes in the USA and the worst roads….
Eric Caine says
Mr. Woods, who only recently accused me of “fake news,” writes, “From 2010 to 2016, the Democrats owned the majority.” That is a demonstrably false claim, and many sources are available that refute it. It is true, however, that illegal immigration figures dropped dramatically under President Obama, but, as I say in the article, Paul Ryan and others used the REPUBLICAN majority to thwart reform. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/111th_United_States_Congress. Those who shout “fake news” most often are those who circulate it most often. Count on it.
Odus Hall says
When it comes to oobstruction on Immigration making a claim that the Democrats are equally at fault is a false narrative.
First of all:
The Democratic Party only has had a super majority once for about 6 months in the last 40 years. That period was from the summer of 2009 until the earliest months of 2010. The reason for that was there were months of delay in the seating of Al Franken of Minnesota as recounts and lawsuits were holding up his being seated. Then in the earliest months of 2010 Senator Ted Kennedy was either to ill to attend the Senate or had died. This was also during a period in which half of that time the Congress was in regular recess.
So other than this very narrow period any Immigration Reform needed at least Republican Senate support suring the two periods the Democrats controlled the House and had a Democratic President.
Six months since Jan 20 1981 have the Democrats controlled all levers of our Government.
The GOP has obstructed any compromise on Immigration since the passage of The 1986 Immigration Reform Act. Including the Gang of Eight bill which was a balanced but conservative bill.