COMMENTARY | The House Republican leadership has wisely decided to defer an attempt at immigration reform until at least after the 2014 midterm elections. The reason is that the rank and file would not be disposed to pass it according to the Washington Examiner.
And the reason for that? Primarily immigration reform is dead for this year because House Republicans distrust President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. More accurately they trust both men to make a political issue out of immigration and not deal with the matter in good faith.
Republicans have a problem with immigration. On the one hand business groups and Hispanics would like to see some kind of reform package that would “normalize” the status of the 12 million or so people who live in the United States illegally. What that means is up for interpretation. Some, particularly liberal Democrats, want a path to citizenship, the better to create more liberal Democratic voters. Some would favor legalization for adults who crossed the border illegally and perhaps a path to citizenship for the children. Still others want the lot of them deported the sooner the better.
And, of course, there is the vexing problem of border security. Many would soften their opposition to immigration reform if they knew that the border was more secure, i.e. not open to people crossing illegally at will. The president has shown himself ill disposed to enforce border security measures that do exist, following his practice of only faithfully executing laws that he wants to.
Thus Republicans are disposed to wait at least until they get the Senate back, which many anticipate will happen in 2014. An acrimonious debate over immigration would tend to place that hope in jeopardy. It would be even better if the matter were to be deferred until there is a new president, presumably someone who would actually follow any immigration reform law that got passed and not, as Obama is likely to do, use it as an opening to create more Democrats.