Immigration reform advocates who are closely following the reception House Republicans are receiving in their districts over the recess are cautiously optimistic, based on the fact that some of them seem to be seriously grappling with the issue. They are hoping that those Republicans who do want to see action — such as Denham, who explicitly says above that it would help the people of his district — will make the case for action in these terms when they return.
“It’s going to be important for the pro-reform Republicans in the House to be vocal, and to try to bring their conference along, when they get back here,” Simon Rosenberg, the head of the New Democrat Network, a group advocating for immigration reform, told me today.
If GOP leaders wanted comprehensive reform to happen — and whether they do or not remains the key question — the bulk of developments we’re seeing right now would be helpful to them. The promised conservative backlash has yet to materialize in the fearsome terms we were told to expect. Indeed there are signs the GOP base remains more preoccupied with its insane drive to shut down the government than it does with “amnesty.” Meanwhile, scattered House Republicans are beginning to make the case that inaction is no longer an option and that action is necessary for the good of the economy and for their own constituents. If we hear more like this — a big if, but still — that should theoretically make it easier for GOP leaders to say some in their own caucus want them to engage the issue seriously.
But again, it all depends on whether GOP leaders decide they want to get to comprehensive reform. If they do, the details will fall into place. If they don’t, they won’t.