Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Immigration Reform Isn't Happening This Year

Posted By on Tue, Nov 12, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Talking Points Memo confirms what we predicted in The Skinny last week: There's not enough time left in the year for immigration reform to go anywhere in the House of Representatives. The report:

Late Friday afternoon, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) leaked word to The Associated Press that there weren't enough days on the legislative calendar to vote on immigration in 2013 — just 16 days remain. McCarthy's office confirmed the report to TPM moments later.

"It's an outrage that House leadership is signaling no floor action on immigration reform this year," said Frank Sharry, the executive director of the pro-reform group America's Voice. "They have all of November and most of December to take action."

Mark Krikorian, who leads the Center For Immigration Studies, which supports more restrictive immigration policies, said the announcement reveals that House GOP leaders recognize their voters oppose reform, even though they "want to be responsive to the corporate interests" pushing for an overhaul.

"The immigration fight is never really over but the odds of success of the amnesty and open immigration project are dropping rapidly, at least for the next couple of years," Krikorian said in an email. "Amnesty boosters will try to put a happy spin on it, but the repeated delays from their confidently announced deadlines is making them sound like the contractor who spends months saying your kitchen will be done in two more weeks."

TPM reporter Sahil Kapur suggests that 2014 won't be any kinder to supporters of immigration reform:

What GOP leadership is obscuring is that the calendar is even less kind to taking on a complex issue like immigration reform in 2014. The deadline to keep the government funded or face another shutdown is Jan. 15. Then in February or March, Congress will have to raise the debt limit again or risk default. These budget battles could be bruising for the GOP. Then comes primary season in May, when Republicans will be polishing their conservative credentials for GOP voters, who resent any form of "amnesty" for people in the U.S. illegally. On Jan. 4, 2015, the new Congress begins and the bipartisan Senate bill becomes defunct.

"I'm hopeful that we can get to it early next year," Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) told the Washington Post. "But I am keenly aware that next year, you start running into the election cycle. If we cannot get it done by early next year, then it's clearly dead. It flatlines."

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