The Politics Of Immigration Reform

by Patrick Appel

Ezra examines them:

Elections really are zero-sum affairs. For one party to win, the other has to lose. … Immigration reform, however, sits at the center of an unusual convergence of forces that have made it positive-sum politics. Democrats believe in the policy, but they also believe that it’s good — even essential — politics to deliver on the number-one priority of the growing Hispanic electorate. Many Republicans also believe in the policy, and almost all Republicans believe that if their party is to prosper, they need to agree to immigration reform to show Hispanic voters that the GOP isn’t hostile to their interests.

Josh Marshall Brian Beutler argues that either Republicans or Democrats must be wrong:

A majority of new citizens will either be Democrats or Republicans. To the extent that the new GOP position on immigration reform changes existing voters’ minds about politics, only one of two parties will be on the winning side of that realignment. Some important Republican strategists and opinion makers recognize this, and worry the GOP has picked a loser.

Donald Trump, of all people, makes related points. How Brian Beutler sees the issue:

[T]he math looks very different in the near term than in the medium and long term. When President Obama won in November, immigration reform was destined to be on the national agenda this year. And though killing it might make sense for the GOP’s longer-term viability, for the immediate purposes of making gains in 2014 and securing the White House in 2016, it would be a grave error — particularly because Republicans haven’t responded to Democratic gains by offering up anything else that might appeal to Democratic voters. Supporting immigration reform isn’t exactly a sign of Republican panic, but that they think it’s their least bad course of action right now.