1. It's a middle-ground bill. It brings illegal immigrants out of the shadows but allows Republicans to tell primary voters that they didn't vote for "amnesty." Republicans can rightly argue that illegal immigrants aren't being given an advantage over those going through legal channels to earn citizenship.2. Republicans can tell their base that they avoided potentially granting voting rights to millions of voters who they fear would vote for Democrats. Conservatives have been using this argument against comprehensive immigration reform for months — noting that allowing millions of Democratic-leaning Latinos to register to vote could cost them future elections. (For what it's worth, this wouldn't happen for a long time, since the paths to citizenship being proposed would take more than a decade, and it's not clear how many illegal immigrants would actually seek citizenship, given the costs and hurdles involved.)3. It would put Democrats in a tough spot. Congressional Democrats who are leading the immigration fight insist that they will not support a bill that stops short of a path to citizenship. But of course they are going to say that; caving on that item at this juncture would effectively take a path to citizenship right off the table. In the end, if there's a bill that doesn't include a path to citizenship but does move the ball forward for illegal immigrants, are Democrats really going to be the ones to halt it when the alternative is nothing?
July 9, 2015 at 11:41 AM EDT