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January 15, 2014 4:45 PM The Courage To Mention Immigration

By Ed Kilgore

Well, expectations from Republicans for courageous advocacy of comprehensive immigration reform have sure gone down in the last year. At this point in 2013, after party “rebranders” insisted the GOP needed to do something about the Latino vote and Marco Rubio got behind comprehensive reform, plenty of people were bullish about an acceptably comprehensive bill being enacted (I was not among them, for the record).

Now John Boehner apparently expects a lot of credit for mentioning the subject, per this interesting report from National Journal’s Fawn Johnson:

John Boehner is planning to unveil a set of Republican principles for immigration reform before President Obama’s State of the Union address, aiming to show the GOP is not hostile to legislation that might win them Hispanic voters.
According to House leadership and immigration-policy aides, the principles will be broad, nebulous even, and heavily focused on Republicans’ favorite immigration issue—border security. It will not include any concrete proposal, they said. Indeed, the wording is likely to be intentionally squishy, giving lawmakers lots of room to maneuver.
“We can win in 2014 without resolving it. We can’t win in 2016 without resolving it,” said Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn.
But no matter what happens, Boehner will come out a winner just for the effort. If it flops over hardliners’ objections to anything that approaches amnesty for illegal immigrants, Boehner and Republican campaign leaders looking for cash can still tell the business community they tried. What’s more, it could lay the groundwork for a Republican overture to Hispanic voters, a group everyone sees as critical to winning in 2016.

Snakes alive, what a profile in courage.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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