Is Immigration Reform Likely to Pass This Year?

August 28, 2013

As the congressional recess draws to a close, momentum seems to be building for immigration reform. Tea Party affiliated protests against the bipartisan Senate bill (S.744) did not materialize, while pro-reform rallies were well attended throughout the country. Diverse businesses interests have lined up to support the bill, including the Republican-allied U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and forces within the Republican party are working in favor of reform, or at least adding their support in the abstract.

Over at the Huffington Post, progressive political strategist Robert Creamer offers another compelling reason for optimism:

A large table of Evangelicals lead by national Evangelical leaders is working hard to persuade Republicans to vote yes – and call a vote in the House. They have spoken at Republican town meetings, taken out ads, and met privately with many GOP members.

Especially in the south, primary challenges are generally fueled by the Evangelical wing of the party. Evangelical support neutralizes the fears of many GOP representatives that a vote for immigration reform could subject them to a primary. That has weakened opposition to reform among Republicans who are more concerned about Primaries than General Elections.

Pro-immigration reform Evangelical activists have teamed up with leaders from the business community to support a pathway to citizenship. In GOP circles that is a powerful combination.

Business, Evangelical and law enforcement figures have done an increasingly effective job not only at making their case to the Leadership, but providing political cover to Republican House Members with few immigrants in their districts.

To whatever extent this is true, it is big news. Republicans already know that killing immigration reform is bad for them in the general election. But if Evangelicals, business leaders, and law enforcement officials can help convince House Republicans that their primary electorate is in favor of immigration reform, immigration reform will have an excellent change of succeeding.


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