Congress Immigration

Spoiler: No Immigration Reform This Year

The fate of immigration reform was more or less sealed after House Republicans gathered for an annual retreat and formed a set of immigration reform “principles” that they would not deviate from.

Chief among those principles was Speaker John Boehner’s declaration that there absolutely would not be a path to citizenship included in any bill passed by the House of Representatives. This is “as far as we are willing to go” he said.

Given that there is no way a non-comprehensive reform bill would pass the Democratically-controlled Senate, the chances of any bill making it’s way to the president’s desk this year seemed thin, but apparently Senate Republican leadership aren’t keen on a potential House bill either.

From The Hill

“I think we have sort of an irresolvable conflict here,” [McConnell] told reporters. “The Senate insists on comprehensive [legislation]. The House says it won’t go to conference with the Senate on comprehensive and wants to look at [it] step by step.

“I don’t see how you get to an outcome this year with the two bodies in such a different place,” said McConnell. [...]

Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) said a comprehensive package is unpalatable to many Republicans.

“The problem isn’t so much the principles, it’s how legislation actually gets passed and we find consensus, and that’s the challenge,”

“The challenge” is for Senate Republicans to appear as if they’re both for and against immigration reform in an election year.

Senate Republican leadership know that comprehensive immigration reform can pass in the Senate. It has already been passed. A comprehensive bill was passed last year with the support of Senator Marco Rubio who, as you may have noticed, is no longer anyone’s favorite. And even though Rubio swiftly denounced his own proposals and support for immigration reform, he has suffered the consequences.

The mission of Republican leadership now is to discourage the House from passing their own bill because, if they do, it will put Senate Republicans on the spot.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell himself does not want to be forced to say Yay or Nay to an immigration reform bill in 2014 while he’s facing challenges from his Left and Right back home in Kentucky.

Blocking immigration reform may have negative repercussions at the national level, but at the local level Senate Republicans must answer to their rabid base of constituents who believe the multilingual Coca-Cola ad was an affront to common decency.

The Republican party doesn’t appear to have a clear strategy on immigration reform unless flailing could be considered a strategy.

  • West_of_the_Cascades

    Shouting “Squirrel!!” every time immigration is mentioned is about as close as they come to a coherent strategy.

  • Norbrook

    The ironic thing is that for several years, Hispanics were considered to be a “future constituency” for Republicans. That was based on their belief that since Cuban emigres were mostly conservative Republicans, and those from other countries overwhelmingly Catholic, that they’d flock to the message the Republicans had. There was just that little problem with the base of the party, who have hysterics at the thought of “brown people!!!!!” around.

    That various immigrant groups might favor Democrats wasn’t a consideration, but now, well, the Republicans are pretty much guaranteeing it.

  • Ned F

    The Republicans have this vague prerequisite for immigration reform which says it must focus on and provide for border security first and foremost. Honestly, I don’t know what this means, and if so, are they willing to pay the billions for more for “The Great Wall of Liberty” and it’s towers every 100 feet with armed guards? Of course we all know which border they’re talking about.

    • JMAshby

      Actually, yes. They want to hand billions of dollars over to security firms and defense contractors to militarize the border. It’s big government and it’s big spending, and they’re all for it.

    • IrishGrrrl

      The boondoggle only explains part of the appeal. The other part of it is that they know there is no real problem with Border Security (por ejemplo, Gov. “Eeek Beheadings” Brewer) so they can “appear” to be doing something about Immigration while also appealing to the inherent xenophobia hijacking their bases’ amygdalas. While fanning the flames of fear they are actually doing nothing which allows the businesses that employs immigrants to continue their virtual slave labor practices AND denies the Dems any political successes, which also pleases their foaming at the mouth fans. It’s a win-win for everyone that matters as far as they are concerned.