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Inland Empire Business News April 5th.001
Inland Empire Business News April 5th.001

Immigration Reform Dead?

The diminishing rancor surrounding immigration reform in our Nation’s Capital appears to portend the death of the issue once again. While some Democrats and a small number of activists intend to keep the issue alive, the matter has been pushed to the back burner, if not off the stove altogether.

When the United States Senate passed a “comprehensive” immigration reform bill in June of last year, proponents of legalizing more than 11 million illegal aliens, (the term of law) felt the wind at their backs and momentum going into the House of Representatives.

What they failed to understand was the growing backlash, particularly against Republicans who supported the Gang of Eight bill. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), a coauthor of the Gang of Eight bill, was damaged the most. As a conservative favorite, he was gaining strength as a potential Presidential nominee. Not only was his Presidential momentum slowed, it was completely reversed, in a matter of days.

Senator Rubio has abandoned his support for his own bill and reversed course. As such, his approval rating has begun to rebound, but he is no longer considered a candidate other than perhaps the Vice Presidential selection.

Opposition among the Republican base to an “amnesty” measure remains incredibly high. These are the folks that walk the precincts, put up the yard signs, man the phone banks, and energize the electorate. Republicans and Democrats both know what happens in an election when your base stays home. Mitt Romney saw it in 2012. The Democrats felt it in 2010 and are likely to feel it again in 2014.

With the blowback from the immigration issue fresh in their minds, why would the Republican House bother to tackle an incredibly complicated and controversial issue? Why would they want to bring an issue forward that their base despises and is politically disadvantageous? And why would they highlight an issue favorable to Democrats that can only provide them cover from the massive failure of Obamacare which currently has Republicans and Independents (and many Democrats) united in opposition?

Why also would Republicans give President Obama his signature legislation for his second term when he has already proven that he will not enforce laws he signed himself or that he disagrees with? Any enforcement measure in any immigration bill will be ignored or set aside by this administration and the public knows this.

The fact is Republicans won’t pass an immigration bill and they can’t. They will give some lip service to the need for reform of the immigration system. Some will pander to Hispanic voters. But, nothing will pass the House of Representatives that even says immigration. Republicans are too close to winning back the Senate this November and controlling the immigration debate for the next two years to risk sending a bill to conference committee and seeing it hijacked by the Democrats.

It also appears that the “broad coalition” pushing “comprehensive” immigration reform is beginning to crack. The tech industry, desperate for more international talent, appears to be quietly pushing a measure for more visas for high tech workers. This does not bode well for Democrat efforts.

The final coup de grace for immigration reform this year? Polling shows that immigration reform is at the bottom of issues important to voters, ranked just above environmental concerns and the war in Afghanistan.

While Democrats will attempt to revive this issue and minimum wage, they are likely to be overwhelmed by the opposition to Obamacare which is having real-world negative impacts on millions of people and the flagging economy. All Republicans need do is focus on those issues and come up with a few popular ideas for getting the economy going and putting Americans back to work and they will build on their majorities in the House and take enough Senate seats to flip the upper house.

Republicans and Democrats both know this. Democrats are desperate to change the subject.

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