There will be no immigration reform this year.
There. I posted it. I can imagine the shock coming from both the left and the right. Every election year cycle the cry for immigration reform goes out.
The cry for immigration reform is the beginning of a political kabuki theatre. There is anticipated hope and then the reform proposal dies a slow death. Finally, Republicans get blamed. There are three reasons why I take a contrarian view to some of the ongoing hysteria regarding immigration reform.
The first reason is that there is not enough time to review this matter. What I anticipate is that this bill will go to conference and will die there. If anyone has reviewed the Senate’s bill, the first thing one notices is the “take it or leave it approach.” The text of the bill is 844 pages long. That is enough to give anyone in the House or the Senate pause. The House approach was to take break the Senate bill and address the issues of border security, legal immigration system, and those who are here illegally in separate legislation. The House approach is more sensible. Build consensus wherever you can and start fixing the problems in our immigration system.
The interesting question is how much of a negotiating mood are Senators Reid and Schumer. By the time there is a conference, it will be closer to the election. By that time, no one would want to address that issue until after the elections.
The second reason is Mexico’s Economy. Mexico’s economy is currently growing. Recently, Mexico has taken steps to liberalize its energy industry by amending its constitution. Also, it is easier and cheaper to build things in Mexico and import them to the U.S. than to build and import things from China.
This news is important because our immigration problem is primarily a matter between the U.S. and Mexico. There has been no net migration between U.S. and Mexico in the last five years. See here. Part of the reason for this net zeor was the recession of 2008, but another factor is the improving Mexican economy. If Mexico’s economy continues to grow, then the incentive to leave for the U.S. greatly diminishes. Once that incentive diminishes, then the U.S. will have less problems at its southern border.
The third and final reason why I do not believe that immigration reform will happen is that this year is an election year. The Affordable Care Act has become an albatross for Democrats. This is especially true for Democrats who are in districts that are purple (i.e. not too liberal, not too conservative). Those Democrats do not need to give their voters additional incentives to defeat them.
As for Republicans House members, whose districts are conservative seats, the threat of a primary opponent will give them motivation to vote against any immigration reforms. On the Senate side if Senators Reid and Schumer want to keep the Senate Democrats’ losses at a minimum, then it is far easier to use the take it and leave it approach, not negotiate and blame Republicans.
The sad fact is that we need to reform our immigration system and enforcement. Unfortunately, those that use emotions rather than facts have hijacked this issue. Those who are stuck in the middle of this debate will have to wait a few more years and hope that the next time there is no dance when the topic of immigration reform comes up.