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Friday, September 20, 2013

The other way the GOP is committing suicide today

Pro-reform marchers
Greg Sargent: In a blow to the hopes of passing immigration reform anytime soon, the bipartisan House “gang of seven” plan is probably dead, and almost certainly won’t be introduced this fall as promised, a top Democrat on the “gang” acknowledges.

“It doesn’t appear that we’re going to move forward with the group of seven,” Dem Rep. Luis Gutierrez, a key player on immigration as a member of the gang, said in an interview with me. “The process is stalled. I don’t believe we’re going to produce a bill anytime soon.”

This undermines the already dwindling prospects for reform, because the House “gang of seven” plan — which would provide a path to citizenship but is significantly to the right of the Senate bill — was seen as a comprehensive plan Republicans who genuinely want to solve the immigration problem just might coalesce around. (The gang of seven plan would reportedly provide for a probationary period for the 11 million, in which they’d admit wrongdoing, and onerous conditions for the path to citizenship, which would be 15 years long.)

But Gutierrez tells me that House Republicans on the gang of seven — who have been trying to negotiate comprehensive reform that members of both parties can support for a long time — are just not prepared to embrace a final plan. He says he believes this is because House GOP leaders are not providing Republicans on the gang with support.
Gutierrez says the bill would probably pass on mostly Democrat vote if it were brought to the fllor. “The bipartisan group just wasn’t getting support from Republican House leadership,” he told Sargnet. “It’s just not gonna happen now… We need the GOP leadership to acknowledge the votes exist for reform.”

House leadership is clearly hoping that no one notices immigration reform slowly dying of neglect. They don’t want their fingerprints on the knife, so they’re just leaving it to starve in the Capitol basement. It’s not an especially courageous plan — and if Democrats make enough noise about it, not a very effective one, either.

[photo by Steve Rhodes]

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