Life is what happens when we make other plans, and the Boston bombings happened right as immigration reform proponents concluded their bill was ready to go public. No matter how hard supporters and the Gang of Eight members who wrote the legislation try to deny or mitigate it, the terror attacks have slowed reform’s momentum considerably and may have indeed blown it up entirely.
Reformers are perfectly aware of how much more difficult the bombings has made their sales pitch — they are in an outright panic. All they have to do is read the blistering attacks from conservatives against reforms that were nowhere to be found two weeks ago. As the fight has burst into the open, reform authors are scrambling to counter the perception that the naysayers could doom the bill.
Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerLobbyists bounce back under Trump Business groups silent on Trump's Ex-Im nominee Chaffetz won't run for reelection MORE (R-Ohio) came out and said the attacks should not affect immigration reform’s prospects in Congress, and Rep. Paul RyanPaul RyanDems, not trusting Trump, want permanent ObamaCare fix Kudlow: Trump's tax plan 'a home run' Samantha Bee roasts Trump at mock correspondents' dinner MORE (R-Wis.) did a pro-immigration event with the leading Democrat on the issue, Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (Ill.), this week in Chicago. As the manhunt concluded last week, with suspected bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev dead and the other suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, in custody, Rubio and Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamTop admiral: North Korea crisis is 'worst I've seen' Comey to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee Overnight Defense: US moving missile defense system to South Korea | Dems want justification for Syria strike | Army pick pushes back against critics of LGBT record MORE (R-S.C.) and John McCainJohn McCainPoliticians absent from Thompson Reuters brunch McCain downplays threat of pre-emptive strike against North Korea McCain plan gains momentum amid North Korea threats MORE (R-Ariz.) rushed to promote their legislation as the antidote to the current, broken system that poses a threat to our national security.
Graham estimated a whopping 70 votes in support of a bill in the Senate, according to Fred Barnes’s piece in The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday titled “Immigration Reform is Starting to Roll.”
That was not a consensus shared by editors at National Review Online, who wrote that the Boston bombings have increased objections to the bill because they highlighted failures in our current system “that the bill under consideration would do little or nothing to rectify and would in some cases make considerably worse.” The editorial mocks Graham’s — yet not Rubio’s — assertion that the legislation would reduce threats more than the current system.
“Senator Graham’s endless infomercials to the contrary are either cynical politics or sloppy thinking — both of which are in varying degree characteristic of the Gang of Eight’s overall approach. We would not be surprised if Senator Graham also promised that this bill would relieve lumbago and get rid of hard-to-clean grass stains.”
This week, Erick Erickson, of RedState, called the plan “unworkable” and accused Rubio’s staff, Grover Norquist and other unnamed advocates of immigration reform on the right of “attacking other conservatives who disagree with them as racists, slavery supporters, bigots, haters, baby killers, un-Christian, etc.” The targets he named were the Heritage Foundation and its president, former South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint.
As GOP Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzKasich finds it hard to rule out 2020 Trump in campaign mode at NRA convention Trump’s hands are tied on 9th Circuit MORE (Texas) has joined the fight against the bill, Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulRand Paul to teach a course on dystopias in George Washington University Destructive 'fat cat' tax law a complete flop. It's time to repeal it. Trump must take action in Macedonia to fix damage done by Obama and Clinton MORE, (R-Ky.), who had supported reform, stated this week that the Boston attacks should slow the process. “We should not proceed until we understand the specific failures of our immigration system,” Paul wrote in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidDraft House bill ignites new Yucca Mountain fight Week ahead: House to revive Yucca Mountain fight Warren builds her brand with 2020 down the road MORE (D-Nev.). And of course, like Rubio, both Cruz and Paul are considered potential candidates for president in 2016.
If reformers thought this week was bad, just wait until an expected report on the cost of amnesty to taxpayers is released by DeMint and the Heritage Foundation.
Stoddard is an associate editor of The Hill.