Wash Post editorial: Immigration reform issue won’t disappear, Republicans could break impasse

Despite the recent brawl over the government shutdown and the debt ceiling, the issue of a comprehensive immigration reform “will not disappear,” a recent Washington Post editorial argues, adding that House Republicans, could break the current impasse. 

According to the editorial piece, “House Republicans, the major stumbling block to reform,” received a reminder that immigration reform continues to be an issue “last month when the Pew Research Center reported that the number of illegal immigrants may be rising after three years of apparent stability.”

However, "many Republicans quake at the prospect of primary challenges and the supposed hostility of the party’s base to anything that can plausibly be maligned as amnesty for unauthorized immigrants,” the editorial notes, citing the case of Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) who “has been vilified by some conservatives since he took a leading role on the [Senate] immigration bill.”

In the House, Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) has expressed his support of granting unauthorized immigrants a form of legalized status without providing a certain path to citizenship. Goodlatte has not yet introduced any legislation but this approach will likely entail challenges on both sides of the aisle, the Post suggests. With regards to Republicans, Goodlatte’s approach “would take a dose of Rubionian courage and the resolve to confront elements in his own party that would regard legal status as a form of amnesty nearly as pernicious as the promise of citizenship itself.” At the same time, his approach “would throw down a gauntlet to Democrats, many of whom regard it … as creating a new underclass of non-citizens who would be free to work but not free to vote.” However, the Post adds:

“At the least, it could restore momentum to a debate that has grown moribund since the Senate’s immigration bill met a brick wall with the House GOP.” 

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