Immigration reform will wither and die slowly in the House. So says Politico, the paper that keeps score for the company town that is Washington, D.C.
As Republican House Members get ready to meet on Wednesday to discuss immigration issues, Politico reporters Mike Allen and Jim Vandehei reported that “Republicans on Capitol Hill now predict comprehensive immigration reform will die a slow, months-long death in the House.” They write that passing a pathway to citizenship now “looks like a pipe-dream.”
According to Politico, House Republicans are not likely to support “comprehensive immigration reform” because they represent districts with few Hispanic voters, do not believe such a bill will be an electoral panacea in getting the Hispanic vote, and think “they will look like fools” if they trust President Barack Obama–who recently decided to delay implementation of his signature Obamacare legislation–to enforce tough border security measures conservatives will demand in any bill.
Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AK) told the publication that his constituents have warned him to stay “clear of anything remotely resembling the Senate-passed bill,” and they fear “a Trojan horse in a conference committee for a package that puts legalization first and enforcement later.”
Republicans are reportedly seeing “momentum swinging decidedly against getting a deal this Congress,” while “private GOP head-counts show only a small fraction of House Republicans” would even vote for a bill.
Lawmakers like Rep. Steve King (R-IA) have argued that the Senate’s immigration bill, as the Congressional Budget Office estimated, would lower wages for working class Americans and raise the unemployment rate while benefiting “elites who want cheap labor, Democratic power brokers, and those who hire illegal labor.”
A Center for Immigration Studies report recently found that all of the net gains in employment over the last 13 years went to foreign-born workers. Conservative leaders like former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Sen. Jeff Sessions, Rush Limbaugh, and Michelle Malkin have insisted that the Senate’s immigration bill would make things worse, devastating working class Americans of all races, ages, and education levels while doing nothing about border security.
Politico, the purveyor of Washington’s conventional wisdom, could not conceive months ago that there would be fierce opposition among Republicans to “comprehensive immigration reform.” And on Tuesday, two prominent center-right publications–National Review and The Weekly Standard– wrote a joint editorial going all-in against the bill.
Even when acknowledging that immigration reform is likely to fail, though, Politico still revisits some of the D.C. talking points in favor of the bill.
Politico asserts that Republicans are “hell-bent” on worsening their “problems” with the Hispanics by not passing a sweeping immigration reform bill. They write that this is driving “the Rubio and Roves of the world nuts,” and “a large number of establishment Republicans think their party will seal defeat in 2016 if it cannot move beyond this issue.” Yet, they also write that even if Republicans “listen to Rubio and Paul Ryan” and “ultimately agree to something Democrats could live with,” Republicans will not get credit from Hispanics.
Republicans who have championed immigration reform, though, have indeed have not been getting credit from Hispanics. For instance, Rubio’s poll numbers among Hispanics have plummeted.
Allen and Vandehei quoted a “GOP leadership aide” in the Senate who explained to them why the immigration bill, contrary to what most of the D.C. political class think, will not instantaneously turn Hispanics into Republicans. The aide said just like George W. Bush’s prescription drug benefit, which conservatives hated, did not “fundamentally alter the way seniors” related to Republicans, the immigration bill will not get Hispanics to magically vote for Republicans.
“The only way you get that is with the candidate, like Ronald Reagan with blue-collar voters,” the aide argued.