Politico looks at the likely fate of immigration reform. Here are excerpts:
Republicans walked away from their 2012 debacle hell-bent on fixing their problems with Hispanics. Now, they appear hell-bent on making them worse.
In private conversations, top Republicans on Capitol Hill now predict comprehensive immigration reform will die a slow, months-long death in the House. Like with background checks for gun buyers, the conventional wisdom that the party would never kill immigration reform, and risk further alienating Hispanic voters, was always wrong — and ignored the reality that most House Republicans are white conservatives representing mostly white districts.
Republican leaders will huddle with their members Wednesday afternoon to plot their public strategy. But after holding countless listening sessions, it is clear to these leaders that getting even smaller, popular pieces of reform will be a tough sell.
Top Republican and Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill see the momentum swinging decidedly against getting a deal this Congress. Rubio persuaded only 13 fellow Republican senators to back the bill; the editors of the National Review and Weekly Standard offered a rare, joint editorial in opposition to it this week; and private GOP headcounts show only a small fraction of House Republicans would ever vote for anything approximating the Senate deal.
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), a leader of the House’s hell-no-on-immigration-reform caucus, held a jam-packed meeting Monday night to walk through why his party should proudly defeat the bipartisan bill. King said the Senate’s immigration plan would help “elites who want cheap labor, Democratic power brokers, and those who hire illegal labor.”
“It would hurt Republicans, and I don’t think you can make an argument otherwise,” King said. “Two out of every three of the new citizens would be Democrats.” Some might dismiss this as the rantings of a bombastic right-winger — but his take is mainstream theology among House Republicans.
A large number of establishment Republicans think their party will seal defeat in 2016 if it cannot move beyond this issue. . . . Most House Republicans quite frankly don’t care.
First, most represent districts with scant Hispanic populations. They will win or lose based on the views of whites, especially older ones, since that is who votes in their districts in off-year elections.
Second, most Republicans in the House and Senate just don’t believe Hispanics will vote for them in 2014, 2016 and perhaps ever — simply because they backed immigration reform.
Third, Republicans think they will look like fools with voters who would seriously think about voting for them if they backed a law predicated on trusting President Barack Obama to carry out tough border security measures.
With even the most modest measures facing an uphill fight, getting to a pathway to citizenship — which Democrats will demand be part of any eventual deal — looks like a pipe-dream.