Immigration Reform — More Political Wrangling, Still No Action

Immigration Reform

This month brought more speculation about the likelihood of immigration reform passing in 2014. Last week, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi announced that the House Democrats plan to introduce a “discharge petition” to force a vote on the comprehensive immigration reform bill, which has already been passed by the Senate.

A discharge petition is a rarely-used tool that the Democrats could employ to bring the bill out of committee and onto the House floor for consideration. While it sounds like it may get the immigration reform ball rolling again, it’s not likely to change much. The discharge petition would need at least 24 Republicans to sign on in order to get the 218 votes it needs to force the House to take action. Even Republicans who have voiced strong support for reform would be extremely unlikely to sign the petition, as it would appear brazenly disloyal to Republican party leadership.

Even if it’s only a political maneuver, however, it might serve to exacerbate the public’s frustration with the Republicans’ refusal to act on immigration reform. Pelosi and the House Dems may be hoping to stir up more media attention focused on the Republicans’ failure to address the issue. At the very least, the discharge petition could provide more ammo for Democrats to blame the government’s failure to take action on immigration reform on Republican obstructionism as we head into the 2014 midterm elections.

Either way, the major news is still “no news” in the world of immigration reform.