The congressional August recess is almost over and there has not been much discussion about immigration reform as of late. According to an article on washingtonpost.com: “If anti-immigration reformers were going to kill off immigration reform once and for all, August was the time to do it. They promised to rally the grass roots and dissuade House Republicans from daring to even think about bringing it back in the fall. Instead, the anti-immigration forces haven’t turned out.”
Could it be that some members of the GOP have learned something from the party’s past blunders when it comes to not only its stance on immigration reform (specifically any provisions dealing with legalizing undocumented individuals) but to the poisonous rhetoric some in that party have spewed in the past? Political advisers for the GOP would be well-advised to persuade members to pass immigration reform that includes some legalization provision and take the issue off the table. Immigration is a losing issue for Republicans at election time, especially when it comes to presidential politics because GOP candidates have to lean far to the right to win the primaries and end up saying things that they have a hard time taking back come election day, as Mitt Romney learned the hard way.
Some have inferred that the GOP strategy may simply be to avoid bringing immigration to the House Floor for a vote, however there are a couple of options floating around that could derail that strategy. The first would be if President Obama were to pass an executive order, as he did with DACA, offering employment authorization and/or travel permission to undocumented individuals in the US who meet certain conditions and apply. Senator Marco Rubio has warned his party that this is a distinct possibility and I believe he is right. The second option would be Democrats using a discharge petition to force a House vote, this was discussed last month in a blog entry that appeared on thehill.com.
Time will tell how this incarnation of the immigration reform saga turns out but for those who are living in the shadows or have been separated from family members, or even those of us who have been following the issue for over a decade. Although one thing is certain, it is getting to be a very long ride.