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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

Republicans Suspicious of President's Offer to Sign Off on Piecemeal Immigration Refo

Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average.
Well, this is not surprising, but it does show that the Republicans are really trapped when it comes to immigration reform. Republican leaders have been walking on an immigration tightrope since the 2012 election. On the one hand, they know they need to stop the bleeding with Latino voters that cost them so dearly last year. On the other hand, they have a vocal anti-immigrant caucus that will scream bloody murder if they move a reasonable immigration bill or series of bills (even though, as I've noted many times in this space that they are not nearly as powerful as believed).

If Speaker John Boehner had his way, he would probably like to avoid having to move an immigration bill, but somehow make it look like the Democrats are too blame. That's probably the strategy for now and once the dangers of empowering existing and potentially new far right primary opponents has passed, then maybe the deal making can begin.

Unfortunately, the Democrats aren't making it easy. Republican leaders are attacking S.744 relentlessly, particularly for its size and its inclusion of a special path to citizenship for those illegally present in the US. But numerous Democrats - including President Obama - are publicly telling Republicans that they're open to negotiating on the Republicans' terms. That is, negotiating on a piecemeal basis rather than a comprehensive one - and only considering existing paths to citizenship rather than a special one.

So that leaves the GOP scrambling to come up with new and sometime very awkward excuses for sitting on immigration reform. Elise Foley, Huffington Post's excellent immigration reporter, had a great piece earlier this week listing out the reasons offered and it's a pretty strange list. My favorite is the excuse that there's no time to pass an immigration bill. This is pretty lame when you consider that the House GOP leadership has found time to vote 43 times to kill Obamacare and they've only scheduled 114 days in session in 2014. Majority Leader Eric Cantor has been cancelling work days this year and giving the House three day weekends and a full week off each month.

Unfortunately, we'll probably continue to hear more reasons why the time is not quite right for immigration. But I'm still hopeful that conditions for moving an immigration bill will be better in the late winter or spring even though the conventional wisdom is that a bill can't pass in an election year. That's just an assumption and if both parties deem it to be an electoral winner (and the GOP very well may view things that way when they're appealing to the general electorate and not just hardcore primary voters), good things can happen.

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Comments

  1. gokul's Avatar
    You also know they want to keep immigration issue as buring issue at least for next 10 years. Then why waste time writing this useless article.
    5 years people are waiting with expectation. Neither party want to pass this bill. Politicians want some issues to keep the emotions of people and attorneys want money from it. that is what happening. If AILA having real truth in them ask to have an executive order to recapture visa for Legal EB immigrants un necessary decade of waiting sacrificing lot of this is it not idiocy?
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