Immigration advocates’ last-ditch pitch

Immigration reform forces’ last-ditch pitch for action before the end of the year: individual political self-interest.

They’ve tried appeals to presidential politics, economic and tax calculations, rational argument, Christian and moral values, humanity, the American spirit. They’ve pushed the idea of giving Washington something positive to show for 2013. As President Barack Obama noted Monday in San Francisco, there’s even a group of people camping out on the Mall in a fasting protest that Vice President Joe Biden visited Monday.

“Of course, just because something is smart, fair, good for the economy and supported by business, labor, law enforcement and faith leaders, Democratic and Republican governors — just because all that is in place doesn’t mean we’ll get it done,” Obama said. “Because this is Washington we’re talking about, and everything’s looked at through a political prism.”

Obama publicly endorsed House Speaker John Boehner’s plan to do immigration reform in parts. Advocates hoping to make him deliver by year’s end believe they can turn several dozen House Republicans hoping to run statewide in 2016, 2018 and beyond — as well as lawmakers whose currently safe seats could be threatened by state legislature shifts by the 2021 redistricting — into a pressure point within their conference to force action.

For now, the argument will be pressed directly to ambitious members by advocates armed with their own polls and demographic data cross-referenced to voter trends — as well as the unspoken suggestion of support from soon-to-be-less-occupied billionaire Michael Bloomberg and other individuals and groups backing reform.

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New American Economy is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization fighting for smart federal, state, and local immigration policies that help grow our economy and create jobs for all Americans. More…