Immigration Reform is Probably Dead

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


Dave Weigel reads the tea leaves from Chamber of Commerce president Tom Donohue this morning, and concludes that the business community isn’t going to press for comprehensive immigration reform anytime soon:

Donohue’s sounding more amenable to the House conservatives’ approach to immigration reform, splitting up enforcement provisions (easily passed in the House) from legalization provisions (not as easily), not allowing a conference committee to merge the proposals. Josten is talking up the conference committee without making demands. The Chamber isn’t nudging the GOP to do anything more than conservatives are asking. So much (again!) for a Tea Party-business split.

I agree about the much-ballyhooed business/tea party split. It could still happen, but the truth is that the business wing and the tea party wing of the Republican Party aren’t really that far apart. In the budget showdown, for example, the preferred course of most of the business community was for Republicans to push as hard as they possibly could but to back down at the last second if they had to. And guess what? That’s exactly what they did. What’s not to like?

As for immigration reform, would the business community like to see a comprehensive bill pass? Sure, probably. Is it a huge priority? No, not really. Are they willing to go along with the obvious reality that it can’t pass the House? It sure sounds like it.

Nor is the piecemeal approach going to go anywhere. The whole point of comprehensive reform, roughly speaking, is that conservatives get something they want (tougher enforcement) in return for giving liberals something they want (broader legalization). Will Democrats vote for individual enforcement provisions without the legalization provisions? Never say never, but they’d be idiots to do it unless the House agrees to a conference committee that stitches everything together into one big bill. Democrats know pefectly well that once you give away all the enforcement stuff, Republicans no longer have any incentive to ever address legalization. It’s the only stick they have.

So as long as House Republicans stick to their guns and refuse to go to conference, immigration reform is dead. It’s possible that some kind of very minor bargain can be forged. Maybe stiffer E-Verify requirements in return for more H1-B visas, for example. But it’s hard to see how you get much more than that, and it sure doesn’t sound like the business community is going to push for more.

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. It's our first time asking for an outpouring of support since screams of FAKE NEWS and so much of what Trump stood for made everything we do so visceral. Like most newsrooms, we face incredibly hard budget realities, and it's unnerving needing to raise big money when traffic is down.

So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate