Well, it wasn't even close so my earlier prediction that the CIR cloture vote would be a squeaker proved pretty far off base. While I'm disappointed the process is over since I was looking forward to seeing what the House would do on CIR, it's hard to get too sad about the departure of what was a pretty bad bill. The H-1B taxes, the point system, the silly touchback system are all ideas best left on the trash pile of immigration bills that died in the years past.

Don't look for the House to try and revive CIR. I think that today's vote effectively will end such an effort until after the next election.

But this is not the end of immigration legislation. It's just the end of trying to fix everything in one massive bill. Look for momentum to swing toward a tough enforcement bill that combines elements of Titles I, II and III of the comprehensive bill (namely, border enforcement, interior enforcement and an employment verification system). I'd also look at standalone legalization bills (DREAM, AgJobs and perhaps a return to 245i or 3/10 year bar repeals or penalties) as well as legalization (SKIL Act and health care professionals). And the floodgates are now opened to dealing with a variety of small immigration measures that were held up until CIR lived or died.

So who are today's big losers?

First and foremost are the Republicans. Scared witless by a very vocal minority (and that minority is much smaller than many people think if you study the polls closely), most Republicans caved in and some became very vocally anti-immigrant during the debate. Some would say that Reid may have been playing the Republicans and hoping for just this result. By playing tough to get a more pro-immigration bill than Republicans could live with, he effectively forced many Republicans in to the anti-immigration camp.

Why bother? Because the bigger picture looks incredibly bleak for the GOP given the short term mistake they've made of playing the anti-immigrant card. There are 30 million Hispanic Americans and 600,000 or so becoming citizens every year. New immigrants vote for Democrats at a rate of 3 to 1 and the overall Hispanic electorate shifted their vote from 44% for the GOP in 2004 to 30% last year. Look for that number to plunge. If Hispanics start voting for Democrats as other groups like blacks or Jews, Republican seats all over the country will be lost and the GOP will be plunged into a long period in minority status. It's hard to see how they come out of this death spiral for a long time. Look for Democrats to pick up as many as a half dozen more seats in the Senate in '08 given how many GOP seats are up and how unhappy the country is with the GOP and the war.

The other big, big, big loser is organized labor (particularly the AFL-CIO). Organized labor has been in trouble for years in the US and their only serious hope for a revival was with the infusion of a large number of immigrant laborers. But now the unions are quite likely to be burdened with the reputation of being anti-immigrant and efforts to organize workers who will inevitably become legal (and they WILL eventually become legal) will be impeded for years by the reputation of unions as being nativist. The AFL-CIO was on board on the bill for most of the ride, but the switch in the last few days will be the only thing people will remember.