Collision Course

The new ABC News/WaPo poll shows that 55% of Americans favor providing a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. That’s why the leadership of the GOP in the Senate and the House support the idea or at least do not want their party to oppose it.Since the election elite/pundit opinion has held it that Republicans were going to get out of the way of this train, pass a bill and move on to other issues. Marco Rubio is going to be the golden boy who shepherds this deal and makes this whole thing happen. But is that realistic at all? It’s almost as if this whole conversation has been moving along without taking any cognizance of the fact that the same House Republican caucus is still the center of Republican power in Washington. And they’re saying really clearly that they’re not on board with this at all.

House Judiciary Republicans are among the most conservative on this issue. And Committee leaders made clear yesterday that at most they are on board with a plan that would allow currently undocumented immigrants a permanent residence status that would nonetheless prevent them from every becoming citizens. That’s a stance the immigration reformers won’t accept and one Democrats cannot accept since they need to deliver for the supporters who provided such a critical edge for them in 2012 and whose support they hope to nail down for years to come.

Democrats have overwhelming policy and political reasons for demanding real immigration reform. They have no interest in compromising. So how does this happen exactly without Boehner yet again carrying a bill with Democratic votes or a long, drawn out process — likely lasting through most or all of this year — to grind House Republicans down until enough of them finally agree.