President Obama told the L.A. Univison affiliate yesterday that “Once that’s done [the fiscal fight], you know, the day after, I’m going to be pushing to say, call a vote on immigration reform.” Or, as a BuzzFeed headline crows, “Obama Has Already Won The Shutdown Fight And He’s Coming For Immigration Next”.
The Republican leadership is on board with Obama’s agenda. House Homeland Security chairman Mike McCaul said a couple weeks ago, “I would think that would be the next agenda item in the queue after we’re done with this mess.” Judiciary chairman Bob Goodlatte has met with Democrats Luis Gutierrez and Henry Cuellar, who were “encouraged by his apparent enthusiasm for advancing immigration reform,” in one reporter’s description. And George Soros’s National Immigration Forum is staging a conservative “fly-in” later this month to pressure Republican House members to pass Obama’s top second-term priority. The “conservatives” making Obama’s amnesty/doubling immigration case to the House GOP will include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Billionaires for Open Borders founder Michael Bloomberg, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, and others.
So the question is what effect will the government-shutdown fight have on the politics of amnesty in the House? It seems like it could go one of two ways. On the one hand, it could be that conservatives are weakened and demoralized by the unsatisfactory result of the fiscal fight, and the leadership will want to show that it can work constructively with the Democrats, increasing chances of passing something to take to conference with the Senate, thus ensuring passage of what will amount to the Schumer-Rubio bill, with a few meaningless tweaks.
On the other hand, as Conn Carroll at the Examiner tweeted recently, “hey – ya know when a great time to bring up the very divisive issue of amnesty? right after a bloody GOP civil war.” Carroll suggests even moderate Republicans, otherwise amenable to amnesty, might want to avoid poking a conservative hornets’ nest. That suggests perhaps the passage of some targeted immigration measures (like a GOP version of the DREAM Act, a farmworker bill, McCaul’s ineffectual-border security bill, etc.) but no conference with the Senate unless it also passes comparable targeted measures, rather than the gargantuan, Obamacare-style monstrosity that is Schumer-Rubio.
I know what I’m hoping for, but that doesn’t mean it’ll happen. I’m open to thoughts on how the fiscal-fight fallout will impact the immigration debate.