Immigration reform is President Obama's number one priority right now — he said on Thursday that he wants action "this year." But after the government shutdown, it's Republicans' number one priority to block what Obama wants. Most are calling reform "dead," claiming that there's no way the House will pass Obama-friendly legislation before the 2014 election.
Republican Rep. Aaron Schock certainly doesn't plan to. He told Talking Points Memo Friday:
"I know the president has said, well, gee, now this is the time to talk about immigration reform. He ain't gonna get a willing partner in the House until he actually gets serious about ... his plan to deal with the debt."
The likelihood of House Speaker John Boehner passing immigration reform with Democratic support in the house does seem slim. If he were to move on Senate proposals, he'd have to break the Hastert Rule to allow a vote without a majority of Republicans' support. As TPM points out, Boehner's only done this when there would be "dire economic or political consequences if Boehner didn't permit a vote." Immigration reform doesn't fall into that category.
But as The Washington Examiner's Byron York points out, immigration reform activists still have some hope, in the form of money. "There is no money on the other side of the issue," Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth noted at a recent Congressional Hispanic Conference meeting. Pro-reformers (like Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg) have poured millions into the cause. "There is nobody out there ready to spend $100 million against this."
Greg Sargent at The Washington Post thinks one act in particular could pass the House: the KIDS Act. This proposal, which Boehner supports and Majority Leader Eric Cantor plans to introduce. The bill provides a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants brought into the country as children. Democrats are prepared to accept the bill if Republicans agree to go to conference negotiations.
Boehner said of the bill in July, "This is about basic fairness. These children were brought here of no accord of their own. Frankly, they’re in a very difficult position and I think many of our members believe that this issue needs to be addressed." But unfortunately, many of them don't.
Rep. Raul Labrador said on the eve of the shutdown, "I don't see how [Obama] would in good faith negotiate with us on immigration reform."