Immigration deal in peril

ADVERTISEMENT
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has said unequivocally the Senate bill he has worked on all year won't pass the House and would struggle to pass the Senate; so much for proponents' estimates of getting 70 votes for it. Rubio said Thursday that unless Republicans are convinced the bill won't cost the taxpayers and won't create another flow of illegal immigration in the future, not enough of them will support it. 

"So that's what we're going to have to focus on, is winning people's confidence that that's what the bill will do," Rubio said.

Winning GOP confidence on border security and cost will be a tall order indeed. From Tea Party conservative Rep. Raúl Labrador (Idaho) bolting bipartisan House negotiations to the House passing Rep. Steve King's (R-Iowa) amendment to reverse the executive order that halted deportations of illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children, it was quite a bad week for immigration reform. 

Though King's amendment won't pass the Senate, he confidently declared, "My amendment blocks many of the provisions that are mirrored in the Senate's bill ... if this position holds, no amnesty will reach the president's desk."

King's bill won't move, but the current consensus among House Republicans — a fragile consensus given deep divisions on just about everything else — is for immigration bills to move separately and not in one comprehensive package. Reform advocates have argued all along that piecemeal bills will kill the effort and only a single agreement can, including a path to citizenship, succeed in becoming law.

But House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte (R-Va.) has made it clear that most Republicans in the House are in no rush to pass the wrong bill, and that passing "the right bill" is worth taking the time.

Both sides know time is the enemy of comprehensive immigration reform. With early fall budget battles, the debt-ceiling increase and the start of the midterm election campaign all just months away, immigration reform has narrow window of opportunity.

WILL/SHOULD COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM PASS? AskAB returns Tuesday, June 11. Please join my weekly video Q&A by sending your questions and comments to askab@thehill.com. Thank you.

More in Senate

Don't count on McConnell to make a deal on immigration

Read more »