I recently wrote Congressman Rice sharing my support for immigration reform, particularly the well-reasoned legislation passed by the Senate. I urged him to support the legislation detailing its emphasis on border security, path to citizenship and employment verification. I asked his specific thoughts on that legislation.
His response left me wondering. “This is an important issue and I have heard from many constituents who feel the same way you do. I appreciate your taking the time to share your views with me.....” He never responded to my direct question about the Senate bill.
As a former senior aide for a Congressman, I understand that often folks in Rice's position are reluctant to show their hand on controversial issues. And I know that he does not read all the mail he gets. The response was a form letter carefully drafted by a young staffer, signed off on by a legislative director and probably by the Congressman.
It is troubling that there was not a sense that the Congressman is truly wrestling with the issue.
Is that because he is getting in lock step with folks who are just going to say no to everything? Is it because some of his supporters want the reform outlined by the Senate and he is reluctant to go against them? Is it because he knows that immigration is the right thing as well as a scary thing to get behind?
This is an opportunity for Congressman Rice to show some leadership and get out in front. Can he do that? Time will tell.
The writer lives in Pawleys Island..