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Immigration Reform Stalls

July 14, 2013

The Senate’s Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) bill passed on June 27th with a vote of 68 in favor and 32 senators opposed. The story in the House of Representatives has been quite different, however. A private two-hour meeting among House Republicans this week confirmed the group’s approach to proceed in a piecemeal fashion, rather than a comprehensive approach embodied in one bill. House leaders have announced that they will delay consideration of immigration legislation until this fall.

Some commentators have expressed pessimism that immigration legislation will ultimately pass. David Brooks, in his Sunday column, describes the immigration reform effort as “in peril.” He argues that the Senate’s immigration bill addresses four main conservative objections against CIR: (1) it increases economic growth–adding 3.3% to GDP by 2023 and 5.4% to GDP by 2033, according to the CBO; (2) it reduces the federal deficit by up to $850 billion over the next 20 years; (3) it reduces illegal immigration between 33% and 50%, according to the CBO; and (4) increases the domestic workforce and avoids demographic collapse by increasing immigration.

These are all gigantic benefits. They are like Himalayan peaks compared with the foothill-size complaints conservatives are lodging.

. . .

Whether this bill passes or not, this country is heading toward a multiethnic future. Republicans can either shape that future in a conservative direction or, as I’ve tried to argue, they can become the receding roar of a white America that is never coming back.

 

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