By David Nakamura
House Republicans intensified their outreach to Latino groups last week, offering renewed pledges that the House will deal with immigration reform this year. The effort has revived hope among advocates that a bipartisan deal can be reached to address the fate of the nation’s 11 million undocumented workers and students.
The chances of a comprehensive deal passing Congress remain doubtful, advocates cautioned, and they worry that the legislative process will spill into 2014, presenting new complications in a year when lawmakers face reelection battles.
In other words, politicians want to pass amnesty, but not if they have to do it soon enough before an election for voters to remember they did it.
But they were encouraged by signals from key GOP leaders that the House is willing to move forward on legislation that could produce a breakthrough in the stalled negotiations.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) said Thursday that his panel is working on four new pieces of legislation dealing with border-control laws. He did not disclose details but emphasized the need to resolve the status of people living in the country illegally.
“We want to do immigration reform right,” Goodlatte told about 70 Hispanic leaders during a roundtable discussion on Capitol Hill, adding that he hopes the House can begin considering bills next month.
His remarks boosted the spirits of advocates who have become increasingly fretful that Republicans have been dragging out the process in an effort to kill momentum for a deal.
The best we can hope for from the GOP Congressmen is nothing -- nothing is better than something. But it's starting to look like nothing is too much to ask.