Why Immigration Reform May Fail, In 4 Charts

We reported yesterday that the most unproductive Congress in history may kill high-skilled immigration reform. Despite a comprehensive immigration bill being passed in the Senate, top Republicans in the House of Representatives say the Senate version is a “Pipe Dream” and they plan to aggressively pursue their own (right or wrong).

Here’s why Republicans and Democrats could continue their unproductive, uncompromising ways, in four graphs.

More Partisan, Less Productive

Congress passes one-third the number of laws it did in the 20th century and is nearly twice as partisan, as measured by the ideological slant of each member’s voting record (data compiled from Norm Ornstein’s Vital Statistics at the Brookings Institute).


Republicans Don’t Want Compromise

Sixty-eight percent of Republicans would rather have a representative that “sticks to his or her principles”  than one who “compromises to get things done”


White Districts Oppose The Current Immigration Bill

Republicans fear that voting for a bill with weak border security and a relatively easy path to citizenship will spell political suicide. “It would hurt Republicans, and I don’t think you can make an argument otherwise,” said Representative Steve King (CrunchGov Grade: C).

BuzzFeed has a fun piece on just how white those districts are, especially of the most anti-immigration-reform Republicans. Here’s the demographic layout of Representative Steve King’s district in Iowa:

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They Keep Getting Elected

Incumbent re-election has been steadily over 80 percent, despite the chaos:

Reelection Rates Over the Years _ OpenSecrets

*Methodology notes: partisanship was calculated by finding the difference between ideological voting records of Democrats and Republicans in Vital Statistics, Table 8-10, subtracting column 4 from 3.