The GOP’s Collective Action Problem

Chait watches Republicans put themselves in a bind over immigration reform:

Immigration reform seems to be a simple problem of Republican Party organization. The interests of the party as a whole dictate passing a bill, but the people who need to do the passing — Republicans in Congress — have an interest in voting immigration reform down.

He wonders if recent statements from Paul Ryan will prove helpful:

There are still plenty of House Republicans who want the bill to pass without having to cast a vote for it themselves. Paul Ryan is enthusiastically stepping forward to pitch immigration reform to his party. Ryan, of course, would very much like to be a Republican presidential nominee one day. And Ryan gets his way within the party more than anybody else.

Caren Bohan notes Ryan’s past efforts on immigration:

Ryan is not a new convert to immigration reform and he says politics are not driving his embrace of it. His work on it goes back to his days as an aide to Jack Kemp, the late congressman who saw immigration as part of a free-trade agenda. In April, Ryan teamed up with his friend, Democratic Congressman Luis Gutierrez, who is a staunch supporter of immigration reform, to tout the issue at an event in Chicago. He has also co-sponsored immigration reform bills in the past.

Paul Mirengoff is skeptical:

Ryan proposes that we grant illegal immigrants a “five-year probationary status” essentially immediately, before anything new and concrete is done to secure the border. If after five years, Congress isn’t satisfied that the border has been secured, the probationary status supposedly will be revoked. Otherwise, the formerly illegal immigrants can proceed towards full citizenship. …

It’s almost unimaginable that the status of former illegal immigrants would ever be revoked. Do you see Republican politicians mustering the courage to pull that trigger? I didn’t think so. At most they might add more years to the probationary period, but I don’t see that happening either. Ryan — I wish I could say this nicely — is conning us.