Breaking non-news out today: Immigration reform is dead in 2013, meaning that high-skill immigration reform is also kaput this year. We already mostly knew that, but the third-ranking Republican in the House confirmed the fact today.
According to TalkingPointsMemo, “California Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the majority whip, said in a meeting with immigration proponents that there weren’t enough days left for the House to act and he was committed to addressing overhaul of the nation’s immigration system next year.” So, that’s that.
Not in 2013? Who cares! It’s the end of the year anyways! Well, yes, but if you are in favor of immigration reform, and many in tech are quite keen on fixing our high-skill immigration system, losing this legislative session is pretty darn bad.
In short, next year is an election year. That means the potential of primary challenges for sitting House members, which is a threat that can be used to force voting patterns. Currently, the far right is opposed to a path to citizenship, something that the Senate included in its immigration package. It will be a flashpoint in the debate, when we have it, between the parties and chambers of Congress.
And that flashpoint heats up when primary challenges are held up as threats to enforce orthodoxy. Don’t trust me, though. What do I know? Instead, listen to Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida. He’s a Republican who, according to the Washington Post, has been involved in immigration negotiations. Here’s his take on getting immigration reform done next year:
“I’m hopeful that we can get to it early next year. 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.”
I am not convinced that that is possible.
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