Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Politics of the next election push immigration debate to the right; it may be headed for the ditch

"I heard a lot of optimism from both sides on immigration reform. I’m hearing less lately, from either side," Ezra Klein writes on his Wonkblog for The Washington Post. "House Republicans tell me to expect a lengthy, ugly process that ends with something that is an immigration-reform bill, but that Democrats might not be willing to credit as being an immigration-reform bill."

Several Republican leaders have said immigration reform is a must for the party to appeal to Hispanics, but the politics of passing a bill are usually individual, not collective. "Republicans who will lose if immigration reform fails are future Republicans," or future GOP candidates, Klein writes. "The ones who will lose in primaries if a moderate immigration bill passes are current Republicans. And it’s current Republicans who have to vote on this bill."

Klein says the public agrees with conservative Republicans' strategy of insisting on strict, provable border enforcement before the reforms can take effect: "The poison pills that Republicans could add to the bill — like 100 percent operational control of the border — sound good to most Americans. Republicans believe they can sell these arguments in the next election."
Klein concludes, "The Democratic theory has long been to pass a bill they like in the Senate, expect a bill they don’t like from the House, and then use the conference committee to jam House Republicans on the premise that House Republicans know they can’t kill immigration reform," Klein and Soltas write. "But now Senate Republicans are organizing to give Democrats a bill they don’t like in the Senate, a bill they absolutely hate in the House, and if this kills immigration reform, well, plenty of their members would be just fine with that." (Read more)

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