The following is a revised version of my post which originally appeared in the early morning of January 16.

On the surface, it seems like good news that the House Republican leadership is evidently renouncing the strategy of letting immigration reform die a quiet death, which many of us had expected this year. Instead, the House GOP bigwigs are talking about reform, and all this talk could lead to action, at least according to a January 15 Politico article by Jake Sherman and Seung Min Kim: Inside the House GOP's immigration push.

I can imagine the euphoric headlines and blogs: The House Republicans have seen the error of their ways and have realized that they cannot simply let reform go quietly into that good night (to paraphrase Dylan Thomas, whom I consider the 20th century's greatest English language poet).

According to this script, the pressure of the immigration reform movement is working. The brave immigration supporters who fasted in Washington and conducted sit-ins at Congressional offices, the church leaders, business groups - Silicon Valley - all the diverse interests who lined up on the side of reason and humanity, have finally succeeded in shaming the House Republican leaders into taking some real action to bring about reform in this election year.

At least one might think so while reading the Politico story about how House Speaker John Boehner's immigration "Principles" are soon to be released, how there are "secret talks" going on on the Republican side, and to quote from the article:

"There are some signs that top Republicans are taking the [reform] process seriously."
(Emphasis added.)

But does all this mean that reform has a real chance this year? Or are the House Republicans only determined to kill reform with a bang instead of a whimper (to paraphrase another famous 20th Century English language language poet, T. S. Eliot, who, in my opinion, deserves the prize for the most pretentious poet of his time)?

And are the Republican proposals, (so far as we know what they are) intended to bring about real reform, including legalization for 11 million unauthorized immigrants? (Forget about the "special road" to green cards and citizenship - that has already gone, or is about to go, under the bus.)

Or are these reported GOP proposals just land mines intended to torpedo reform and boomerang against the Democrats?

(Oy! Am I ever mixing up my military metaphors! How awful! But the reported Republican "reform" proposals don't make any more policy sense than my metaphors do from the point of view of style.)

Let's look at the proposals in more detail.

Politico's Sherman and Kim write:

"There have been discussions among senior Republicans about trying to trade some form of legalization for increased state and local enforcement of immigration laws - a move, depending on how its crafted, that could run into resistance from Democrats." (Emphasis added.)

Further down in the same article, Sherman and Kim describe another possible Republican proposal:

"[Rep. Mario] Diaz-Balart [R-FL] has been working on a legalization bill to address current undocumented immigrants in the United States. The legislation, still in the works, will most likely use border security and interior enforcement triggers on the legalization path, with a probationary period along the pathway."
(Emphasis added.)

The only thing that the House Republicans seem to have left out of these "reform" proposals is putting alligators in the moat.

The GOP strategy is becoming clear - put forward traditional Republican enforcement-first proposals of the type that have blocked reform for at least the past two decades in the form of poison pills that no reform supporters can possibly accept, and then blame the Democrats for "killing" reform by voting against them.

Sherman and Kim also write:

"Trading legalization for an uptick in state and local enforcement - as some Republicans are discussing - will most likely be met with skepticism by Democrats. Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) passed legislation calling for that last summer, but Democrats vehemently rejected the bill, arguing that it would criminalize millions of undocumented immigrants already in the country." (Emphasis added.)

One does not have to be a famous literary figure to read between the lines and figure out what the Republican strategy could well turn out to be in 2014 - blow up reform and let the Democrats pick up the pieces.


Roger Algase, an attorney and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, has been practicing immigration law in New York City for more than 30 years.

He has helped many capable and hard-working professionals with H-1B, extraordinary ability and Labor Certification cases, among others, to develop strategies leading to successful results. He also represents opposite and same sex married couples in green card applications.

Roger Algase has made it possible for immigrants from many parts of the world to achieve their goals, advance their careers and build a solid foundation for their lives in America. His email address is