The Conversation

The immigration debate is the "musical chairs" of politics

The truth about immigration reform is that Democrats opposed it when Republicans were in power, only so that they could be the ones to implement it when they held power. Barack Obama played a particularly important role in obstructing progress, as I've explained on other occasions. It was one of the only areas in which Senator Obama made a difference--and not for the better.

Given the rising strength of the Latino electorate, everyone knew the day would come when the issue could no longer be ignored. The music would stop, and the parties would have to stop circling the chair and sit down. That moment came in the 2012 elections, and the Democrats are sitting pretty. So they will dictate terms. The reason there is so much enthusiasm among Republicans for Sen. Marco Rubio's alternative plans is that this is one area in which the party really has no more leverage, and where a compromise in which both parties can take credit is the best the GOP can do. 

And Obama, who did everything to stop immigration reform for the better part of a decade, will get the lion's share. Elections do have consequences, at least in this case.


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