By Ed Morales

House Speaker John Boehner should stop getting in the way of comprehensive immigration reform.

Despite various public opinion polls that show that a strong majority of Americans want it, Boehner recently announced that House Republicans "have no intention of ever going to conference" on the reform bill passed by the Senate in June.

The Republican House strategy, which Boehner and other GOP leaders implemented as soon as they regained a majority in 2010, has been to delay almost all forms of legislative process as a strategy to discredit Obama and the Democrats. This tactic reached a climax this fall when the renegade tea party faction succeeded in shutting down the government.

With extremist Republicans driving the House agenda, the immigration issue has proved a thorny one for the president to push forward, as even some immigration reform advocates are conceding. Up to now, they have been understandably critical of Obama for being slow to act on the issue and for deporting increasing numbers of the undocumented.

Meanwhile, millions of undocumented immigrants continue to live in the shadows and work with no reliable protections against employers who pay them below the minimum wage or make them work in unsafe conditions. They have to live every day not knowing whether their families will suddenly be torn apart by the arbitrary enforcement of an outdated immigration law.

Immigration reform is more than just an economic or legal issue. It is a human rights issue, a crucial one in determining the future of 21st century America. It is time for the speaker to find a way to move the legislative process forward.

Ed Morales is a contributor to The New York Times and Newsday and is the author of Living in Spanglish. He can be reached at

Copyright Ed Morales.

Illustration: Flickr user DonkeyHotey, creative commons licensed.


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The new head of the Environmental Protection has a history of suing the agency for trying to do its job.

The reach of this story extends from the lowliest working stiff to the highest court in the land.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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