On the issue of immigration reform, there may be consensus among the Senate’s Gang of 8 but that’s no guarantee of its future in Congress. The bipartisan group is expected to unveil its bill on Tuesday–legislation that would provide a 13-year path to citizenship, a handful of border security requirements, an electronic employment verification program and new rules for guest workers.
Texas Democrat Rep. Joaquin Castro joined the NOW with Alex Wagner panel on Monday to discuss the future for immigration reform on Capitol Hill.
“It’s going to be tough in the Senate; it’s going to be even tougher in the House,” Castro said, noting that for every effort Florida’s Sen. Marco Rubio makes to corral his party, there will still be a group of “intransigent, really right-wing Republicans who are going to fight this tooth-and-nail” in the House.
Castro says the future of immigration reform rests on the shoulders of one man: John Boehner. “What most of it comes down to,” Castro said, “is whether Speaker Boehner is going to follow the Hastert Rule or not.”
The Hastert Rule–an informal rule preventing the Speaker of the House from even voting on legislation unless it has the support of the majority-of-the-majority–has been something of a doctrine for the Republican Party over the past decade. Until December 31st of last year, Speaker Boehner did not bring a single bill to the floor without the support of the majority of his caucus. But this year, Boehner has broken with the Hastert Rule four times already.
“If he follows the Hastert Rule,” Castro said, “immigration reform is going to be hard to do,” but if he doesn’t, “we can get it done.”