Nobody likes the way the United States government handles immigration — legal and otherwise. Not business, not labor, not faith and public interest groups, not elected officials of either party.
That should have been enough to pass a comprehensive reform bill, such as the one approved by the U.S. Senate last year. Business liked it. Labor liked it. Religious organizations and advocates for the poor liked it. Many Democrats, including President Barack Obama, and a few Republicans, including Utah’s U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, liked it.
But the leaders of the House of Representatives — where many among the majority Republicans strongly, and wrongly, denounced the bill as an amnesty for illegal immigrants — didn’t like it. Nose-counters estimated that the bill might have passed with the votes of nearly all Democrats and just enough Republicans. But because the Republican leadership couldn’t win consensus from its own caucus, it was never brought up for a vote.
Now, though, a glimmer of hope has emerged.
House Speaker John Boehner last week put forward a list of principles for immigration reform that he hoped his Republican caucus would discuss and adopt. It wasn’t all that different from the Senate bill, except for one key point.