3 reasons to be skeptical that immigration reform will pass
Senate leaders are optimistic, but the conservative movement will do its very best to kill any kind of deal
BY ALEX PAREENE
The big story out of Washington today is that a bipartisan “gang” of senators tentatively agree on a “framework” for comprehensive immigration reform. And it’s not just another variation on the increasingly limited Dream Act: It’s got a real path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants. Harry Reid is going to make it a top priority. Longtime immigration reform supporter John McCain, who opportunistically turned against reform a few yeas ago, is back on board. Conservative golden boy Marco Rubio is pushing Republicans to accept it. The bill could be on the president’s desk by spring.
Except it’s all going to blow up. For three simple reasons:
One member of the “gang of eight” is, naturally, Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican who is always joining gangs with his best friend John McCain. That’s a bad sign. Because Lindsey Graham is a pathological deal-killer. He lives to bargain endlessly and then pull out at the last minute. Lindsey Graham is the master of refusing to support things he actually supports because a Democrat hurt his feelings. He withdrew his support for immigration reform in 2010 because the Senate planned to also consider climate legislation, another policy he claimed to support. He reneged on the Dream Act. He promised that he was working on immigration reform with Chuck Schumer two years ago and nothing happened.
The problem is, Graham is actually necessary for the bill to pass the Senate, and whenever his vote is crucial, he responds by withholding it. Here’s the National Journal’s Fawn Johnson explaining the Senate situation: