Boehner wants immigration reform

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has made a calculated and coherent decision to leave the right wing of the GOP behind, and move his party closer to the center, isolating radical and discredited Republican rightists such as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). There will be major consequences for Boehner's move, including the likely passage of a strong immigration reform bill — which will include some credible path to citizenship — before Election Day.

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I never agreed with those Republicans and commentators who claimed that immigration reform was dead. That was never true. It is not true today. Boehner's recent public tongue-lashing, in surprisingly derisive tones, of anti-immigration conservatives in the House Republican Conference was striking and revealing.

Boehner understands that it would be politically poisonous for Republicans to kill immigration reform before the election and to be accused of a war against Hispanics as they are accused of a war against women. President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) are stepping into the breach and moving aggressively to seize the moment. Boehner wants an immigration reform bill. With Boeher's change of heart, most likely a strong immigration bill will pass before Election Day or Republicans will be blamed by Hispanics, accused of a war against them, and pay a heavy price in November.

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was then chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. Contact him at brentbbi@webtv.net.