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  • Bloggings: The House Republican Leadership Agreed to Avert a "Fiscal Cliff". Will House Republicans Agree to Immigration Reform in Time to Avoid Their Party's "Demographic Cliff"? by Roger Algase

    Bloggings on Immigration Law

    by Roger Algase

    Late at night on January 1, the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives finally agreed to allow the "Fiscal Cliff" compromise that had overwhelmingly passed the Senate to come to a vote in the House. A majority of the House Republicans voted against the agreement, but it passed with the help of House Democrats.

    No doubt, the main reason why House Speaker John Boehner agreed to let the compromise bill come to the floor was the fear that financial markets would take a huge hit if the compromise failed to pass. One can only imagine the pressure that the Republican leadership must have been under from the party's Wall Street campaign donors to pass, something, anything, to avoid the widely predicted Fiscal Cliff disaster.

    Could this chaotic process be an indication of how immigration reform might play out in Congress? Even though many Republican leaders may have had a sudden epiphany on November 7, 2012, when they found out the hard way that their voter suppression efforts were not enough to keep Latino and other minority voters away from the polls, no one should assume that the anti-immigrant hard liners in the Tea Party dominated House are suddenly about to fold their hands and cave in to the moderates on issues such as legalization for millions of unauthorized immigrants.

    But the House did finally go along with the Fiscal Cliff compromise, so why is there any reason to think that it would not do the same on immigration reform? The answer is that, while there was immense pressure to reach a Fiscal Cliff deal in order to avoid a perceived economic disaster, there would be less pressure on House hardliners with regard to immigration reform. America has lived with a broken immigration system for a very long time, and there is no immediate disaster pending if reform is not achieved by any certain date.

    There would only be a continuation of the slow moving train wreck which has been the norm in immigration policy for as long as anyone can remember.True, there is pressure on the Republicans to do something about immigration reform in order to avoid extinction as a party. One might call that their "Demographic Cliff". But the next Congressional election is two years away, and the presidential election is four years off.

    Will this create enough sense of urgency in Congress to agree to immigration reform now? Or will anti-immigrant hardliners continue to block reform by threatening to filibuster it in the Senate, as was the case in 2007, or adopt draconian "enforcement- only" measures in the House, as was the case in 2005? Certainly, this past November's election was an eye opener for many anti-immigrant politicians.

    But just as we can expect to hear a good deal more more from the Republican hard right in upcoming "Budget Cliff" negotiations, can we expect the Tea Party adherents in Congress to give up their atavistic anti-minority hard line on immigration, despite the lesson of November 6, 2012? This is by no means sure.


    About The Author

    Roger Algase is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been practicing business immigration law in New York City for more than 20 years.


    The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) alone and should not be imputed to ILW.COM.
    Comments 1 Comment
    1. federale86's Avatar
      federale86 -
      The demographic cliff can only be avoided by ending third world immigration. Allowing more third world immigrants into the United States will the the cliff that the GOP falls off. Third world immigrants and their progeny support the welfare state and come here precisely for that reason. Supporting amnesty will ensure the end of the GOP.
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