Comprehensive Immigration Reform: Does The GOP Want It?

August 13, 2013

After years of laying the groundwork, after months of drafting legislation, and after deals were negotiated to bring in Republican support in the Senate, the fate of Comprehensive Immigration Reform comes down to one question: do House GOP leaders want it, or not?

Greg Sargent at the Washington Post takes stock of the August recess, and finds reasons to be encouraged:

…the bulk of developments we’re seeing right now would be helpful to [reform advocates in the GOP]. The promised conservative backlash has yet to materialize in the fearsome terms we were told to expect… Scattered House Republicans are beginning to make the case that inaction is no longer an option and that action is necessary for the good of the economy and for their own constituents. If we hear more like this — a big if, but still — that should theoretically make it easier for GOP leaders to say some in their own caucus want them to engage the issue seriously.

If the GOP leadership wants to pass immigration reform, but feels penned-in by a base that would revolt if any bill is passed, then the relative calm of the August recess is very good news indeed. However, if the GOP leadership simply doesn’t want a bill to pass, the job becomes much harder. That may be why outside organizations are starting to apply pressure directly to GOP leadership. The Chamber of Commerce recently helped organize a multi-industry letter (signatories range from tech and telecom giants AT&T to smaller agricultural concerns like the Yuma Fresh Vegetables Association) sent to Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader Pelosi, stating very clearly that “failure to act is not an option.”

In addition, Mark Zuckerberg’s controversial continues to spend freely on ads supporting conservative politicians, most recently on this $350,000 ad buy defending Paul Ryan’s support of immigration reform:

With so many interests aligned in favor of reform, (including many, like the Chamber of Commerce who are typically Republican allies), it is hard to imagine that Republicans can allow the legislation to die. Unfortunately, we have seen this story play out before.

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