Friday, May 11, 2007

The chances for immigration reform

The Senate debate over reform has stalled so badly that Harry Reid is now just reintroducing McCain-Kennedy, this time without McCain around. McCain’s presidential run means he is kowtowing to what he perceives to be the desires of the Republican base (though in fact it is far from clear that the base really is restrictionist—there have been some interesting stories about the evangelical community favoring reform).

Within a few short months, a remarkable transformation has taken place. When the Democrats gained their congressional majorities, everyone fell over themselves to assert that immigration reform could finally occur. Now, “Senate Republicans, even those who helped craft last year's bill, say the political environment has shifted decisively against that measure and toward a tougher approach.”

One change is that President Bush signed the Secure Fence Act and then came out with an unrealistic reform proposal, thus signaling to Republicans that it was fine not to compromise much. Another change is the introduction of immigration into high profile stories like the Virginia Tech murders and the Fort Dix plot. Get “tough” on immigration, the argument goes, and those events would not have occurred—with fewer immigrants (and, given the tone of current proposals, without families of immigrants) we’d be so much happier. Lastly, even this early the Republican race has soured real debate. Tom Tancredo and Duncan Hunter are one trick ponies and live to restrict immigration, so even mainstream candidates seem to feel they have to do the same.


  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP