Does immigration reform have any chance in 2014? One of the best comments I have run across on this question is a November 12 article on TPM DC by Sahil Kapur called GOP Nixes Immigration Reform In 2013 - and Probably 2014 too.

(Sorry, I do not have a link - I suggest using Google to access this excellent article.)

Kapur's view is pessimistic, but appears to be closely anchored in reality. He writes:

"Even if they found the time, voting on immigration in 2014 would be painful for House GOP leaders, revealing profound splits within the party over an extremely emotional issue. There's no indication that Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), who likes party unity and has little control of his conference as it is, has the appetite for this, particularly when there's no consensus among Republicans on how to move forward."

Kapur continues:

"House GOP leaders have been slowly dimming the chances of passing immigration reform, cautious to make sure that pro-reformers couldn't pinpoint one moment at
scious or not, which the GOP scuttled it. The approach, conscious or not, has been to gradually lower expectations so that no single moment guarantees doom for the cause. But taken together, what emerges is a picture of a House Republican conference that sinply doesn't - and never did - have the appetite for broad reforms to help immigrants, especially without papers." (Emphasis added.)

And what does Kapur see as the root of the problem? Nothing new here, but at the same time, impossible to overlook or wish away:

"The broad coalitions for immigration reform - business, labor, tech, evangelicals, Hispanics - mean nothing to the Tea Party base, which is dead set against legalizing immigrants living in the US illegally and sees cultural diversification as an existential threat to the country. These voters still call the shots among House Republicans, most of whom are in safe, gerrymandered districts and worry more about right wing primary challengers than general elections."
(Emphasis added.)

Has anything changed in the month since this article appeared? True, Boehner has hired Rebecca Tallent, a pro-reform advocate and former McCain immigration staffer. (See my December 4 Immigration Daily Post).

But Tallent, far from being a reform firebrand, is herself a cautious pragmatist who wrote in the Christian Science Monitor last month that House Republicans still need to be sold on the merits of reform. See Immigration reform: the politics of the possible (November 6)

No doubt Tallent will use all her talents to accomplish this to the best of her ability. Optimistically, she concludes that there may still be a chance for reform before the 2014 elections.

But in the light of the above political realities, and her own statement that reform is not a big concern in the districts of many of the House Republicans who will need to be convinced, passing immigration reform next year will be anything but easy.