With the Senate already having approved comprehensive immigration reform, there’s still a big question mark hanging over the House. And if you want to know what’s likely to happen, there are a handful of House members to keep an eye on.
You’d start, of course, with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), but at this point he doesn’t know what he wants to do or what he can even get away with. So we turn our attention instead to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who rejected comprehensive reform in February, but who’s left himself some wiggle room ever since.
That is, until yesterday.
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) didn’t breed much optimism on Monday about his plans for comprehensive immigration reform, telling a town hall crowd that the House would act, but not on a “special pathway to citizenship” that Democrats support. […]
Goodlatte said he sympathized with young undocumented immigrants who wanted to gain legal status so they can work and attend college more easily. But he said he would not support moving forward before other border security and enforcement mechanisms were in place. He said he also opposes allowing a special pathway to citizenship for other undocumented immigrants – such as Dreamers’ parents – that he feared may encourage more unauthorized immigration.
Remember, Goodlatte may not be a household name, but when it comes to the House process, he’s as important as nearly anyone on Capitol Hill. Immigration reform, if it moves at all in the House, will start with his Judiciary Committee – and he intends to oppose any bill that enjoys Senate and White House support. Goodlatte will support something, but not a pathway to citizenship,
As we’ve discussed before, a pathway to citizenship in an immigration-reform bill isn’t just some luxury add-on element – it’s largely the point of working on reform in the first place. This provision is at the heart of the entire endeavor. Goodlatte’s willingness to tackle the issue, but without a mechanism to help those undocumented immigrants who are already here, is effectively the same thing as opposing reform in its entirety.
This is not to say immigration reform is dead, but I’m increasingly of the opinion that a solution in the House, if there’s going to be a solution at all, will rely on a discharge petition.