To state the obvious, comprehensive immigration reform won’t pass in Congress this year. The Gang of Eight bill that passed in the Senate is a political zombie. The zombie metaphor is overused these days, so I won’t go there. But suffice it to say, the Senate bill isn’t really dead, it is just not relevant to anything the House might do. The House will not pass anything like the 1,000+ page Senate bill — and I doubt there will even be a vote on a bill that includes a “pathway to citizenship” for illegal immigrants who are already here.
It is possible that House Republicans will shake their fists and pass an angry border-protection bill that won’t satisfy anybody and would only serve to highlight the inability of the GOP to deal with immigration in a way that says something positive about the party.
The fact is House GOP leaders does not have a plan. They only know what won’t pass. It is almost impossible to say what could get 218 votes these days.
The rolling debacle of immigration politics continues for the GOP. The only question that remains is how much worse it can get between now and the 2014 midterm elections. Anything the House Judiciary Committee considers will represent the views of the most conservative wing of the party. And it is those views that are most radioactive with Hispanic voters. Blah.
At this point, the Republican Party as a whole would probably be hurt less if the House does nothing on immigration. So much for starting to build bridges with and increase support among Hispanic voters.