This Is How Immigration Reform Dies

by Patrick Appel

Republican Rep. Bob Goodlatte, head of the committee that has jurisdiction over immigration, has come out against a pathway to citizenship. Brian Beutler thinks immigration reform’s chances just got slimmer:

How likely is immigration reform to become law if the Republican with the most immediate power to shape the legislation opposes citizenship for current immigrants? I’d say not very likely — not without him and the contingent in the party he speaks for getting tossed under the bus.

Ezra adds:

If you’re peering into the tea leaves, here’s what that means.

First, Goodlatte thinks the trends in the House Republican Conference support flat-out opposition. As head of the relevant committee, if he thought serious immigration reform had a chance, he’d hold a bit of fire in order to ensure he kept his role in the process. That was his strategy early in the debate.

Second, he’s fairly confident that House Republican leadership won’t roll him to get a bill done. Again, if that seemed like a possibility, he might be a bit more reticent in order to preserve his seat at the table and avoid any humiliation. But this suggests he doesn’t believe Boehner et al will fight him to pass something that the Senate could stomach and the president could sign.

Josh Marshall wants supporters of immigration reform to stop “pretending that this bill is going to pass and get about the business of explaining to voters who is stopping it from passing or in fact stopping it from even getting a vote”:

 This tends to be something center-left reformers never get. The bill is dead or near dying. Letting this drag on only demoralizes people who think that government can act in the common good because it makes it seem as though the bill is dying of natural causes or some hopeless terminal illness — something tied to the nature of the Congress or the ‘process’ itself.

But that’s deeply misleading and damaging to the prospects of reform ever succeeding. The bill didn’t die. It was killed. So forget the heroic measures to revive it and get about telling the public who killed it and holding them accountable for their actions.