Coming This Summer: The Immigration Debate Will Return

Bill Scher

Yesterday, pro-immigration Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart told the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent, “I’m convinced that if we don’t get it [immigration reform] done by the August break, the president, who is feeling a lot of pressure from having not done anything on immigration reform, will feel that he has to act through executive action.”

Sargent continued, “he has legislative language ready to go on a form of legal status for the 11 million that he believes could win substantial Republican and Democratic support, and said he continues to talk to lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. John Boehner has shelved reform, but most people closely following the debate think there’s still an outside shot — a very long one, to be sure – that GOP leaders might decide to allow proposals to move forward after the primaries are over, and before recess.”

After the end of June, most House primary races in red states will be over, and Congress is in session throughout July. This is the window for bipartisan action, before the general election campaigns go into high gear in the fall.

Meanwhile, House Dems are pressuring 30 House Republicans to sign a discharge petition that would force a vote on a comprehensive reform bill. There is no expectation that any Republicans will sign, but the targeted pressure campaigns give them incentive to compromise and defuse the issue.

Pessimism is of no value here. There are active efforts underway to set the stage for action in the summer, and they should be supported, not dismissed.

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