Thursday, July 11, 2013

Path to Citizenship Becomes a Path to Nowhere

Immigration reform is dead.

House Republicans huddled in a crucial two-and-a-half-hour session in the basement of the Capitol as their leaders tried to devise some response to the demand for immigration legislation, especially the Senate provision that would grant a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants already in the country. The bill also mandates tough border security provisions that must be in place before the immigrants can gain legal status.

The bottom line was clear: The Republican-controlled House does not plan to take up anything resembling the Senate bill, which many believe is bad policy and smacks of an amnesty strongly opposed by the conservatives who hold sway over much of the rank and file. The House also does not intend to move very quickly, and some Republicans are wary of passing any measure at all that could lead to negotiations with the Senate, talks that could add pressure to the House to consider a broader plan.

I believe I have been predicting this all along.

Of course the immediate losers are the people who are caught in the immigration system that is broken and making life hard for everyone involved with it, but — as is the case with all things like this — it has political implications as well.

Those who have bet their future on the immigration reform — Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) included — are now looking at the smoking ruins of the bill and wondering how to pull something out that can be seen as a win for them.  After all, that’s what’s really important; actually solving the problems of immigration was just an extra.