The conventional wisdom on immigration crumbles.

A mostly political Weblog.
May 30 2006 5:42 AM

Special Premature Gloating Edition

The bogus CW on immigration crumbles.

How Wrong Can You Be? This wrong:

THE IMMIGRATION ISSUE HAS FLIPPED in President Bush's favor. The public now firmly supports toughened border enforcement plus--and this is a big plus for the president--a system for letting illegal immigrants already in America earn citizenship. ... [snip] ... The ones with the politically untenable position are Democrats who want an immigration issue (but not actual legislation) to use against Republicans in November, and Republicans who want merely to increase border security.

The upshot is that an immigration bill appears likely (but not certain) to pass when Congress returns from its Easter recess on April 24--and probably in a "comprehensive" form congenial to Bush and Republican congressional leaders. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and House Speaker Dennis Hastert have indicated they back this approach, not a bill simply calling for stronger border security.

The turning point came in March ...

--Fred Barnes, "Bordering on Victory,"Weekly Standard, April 24, 2006 [Emphasis added]

Republican House members facing the toughest races this fall are overwhelmingly opposed to any deal that provides illegal immigrants a path to citizenship -- an election-year dynamic that significantly dims the prospects that President Bush will win the immigration compromise he is seeking, according to Republican lawmakers and leadership aides.

The opposition spreads across the geographical and ideological boundaries that often divide House Republicans ... [snip]

Despite some national polls showing strong support for a comprehensive solution of the sort favored by Bush, nearly every GOP lawmaker interviewed for this article said the House plan to secure the borders and enforce existing immigration laws is unquestionably the safer political stand in his or her district. Many Democrats from vulnerable districts say the same thing, although the Democratic Caucus as a whole is more sympathetic to a Senate-style compromise.

-- Jim VandeHei and Zachary A. Goldfarb, "Immigration Deal at Risk as House GOP Looks to Voters," Washington Post, Sunday May 28, 2006

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If you watched ABC's This Week yesterday, you saw that last week's bogus CW assumption--that the only bill capable of passing Congress is a Senate style "comprehensive" bill--has crumbled with startling rapidity. The consensus at George Stephanopoulos' bull session was that if the House GOPs are smart they'll pass a non-comprehensive, enforcement bill and let Senate Democrats try to block it. ... I predict the Senate Dems will filibuster it, the same way they filibustered and blocked Justices Roberts and Alito! ... 

P.S.: If the House passes A (enforcement) and the Senate passes A (enforcement) + B (legalization)--and if, as the Weekly Standardites claim, the Republicans need to pass something, isn't the most conspicuous candidate for that something the common element that has been approved by both chambers? In other words, A. ... If the pot needs to be sweetened for Latino lobbyists and voters, why not throw in an increase in the (too low) quotas of future legal immigrants from Mexico and other Latin American nations?  ... See also RCP's McIntyre, who has now almost completely reversed his April position. ... 1:56 A.M. link

They'll be here all week: Achenbach and Wright in an impressive deadpan-off. ... 2:43 P.M.

Does the just-passed Senate immigration bill really only require illegal immigrants to pay back taxes for 3 of the past 5 years? It looks that way.  I'll take that deal! ... See also  Grassley and Steyn. ... My sophisticated political antennae tell me that this provision will not go over well! At some point, the voters may conclude the Senate has simply lost its mind. ... P.S.:  "Advocates of expanded immigrant rights" have some arguably more esoteric fine-print objections to the Senate bill  (e.g. you'd have to show an immigration board's decision had no "reasonable" grounds to get it overturned in federal court). Guess which side's complaints got publicized in the Washington Post6:24 P.M.

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