Norquist v. Ingraham and the Momentum for Immigration Reform

Bill Scher

As we near the congressional summer session, three factors are driving the possibility of immigration reform:

1. Anti-immigrant forces have failed to win any victories in the Republican primaries.

2. Democrats and immigration advocates are prepared to ramp up pressure on House Republicans.

3. Top pro-immigration conservatives are confidently challenging their anti-immigration peers.

The most recent instance was yesterday, as Grover Norquist visited Laura Ingraham’s radio show, then chastised her and her allies because “they throw around ‘amnesty’ in criticizing every single reform that we’re looking at.” And he added, “You can’t talk about the importance of building the middle class and telling the farmers to go to Hades in the same sentence.”

In other words, the left is united and the right is divided. This bodes very well for getting something done.

However, divisions on the left could surface. Some immigration activists are not inclined to wait long for the House GOP to act, and want to pressure the White House for executive action a month earlier than congressional Democrats would prefer. A month may not seem like a big difference, but it can be when you only have a two-month window in June and July to act before Congress adjourns and the fall campaign season kicks in.

For now, the momentum and the political dynamics are with the reformers. Which should make for an interesting June, at least.

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