Well, it looks like the government will reopen later today and the debt ceiling fight will be deferred for another several months. That's great news for the country and in particular for those who were hampered in their immigration processing by the shutdown. It was also welcome news that the President stated earlier today that he now wants to make immigration reform front and center.

Regular readers of this blog know I'm an optimist when it comes to immigration reform. That's despite the regular stream of commentary from the pundits declaring immigration reform dead. In fact, we've seen immigration reform pronounced finished over and over again all year and somehow it always comes back to life. That's because there are a couple of assumptions that people make which, in my view, deserve to be challenged.

1. Conservative Republicans will never vote for an immigration bill with legalization provisions.

Speaker Boehner has said over numerous times that a majority of Republicans must be on board with immigration reform and that he will not simply allow the Senate bill to be taken up by the entire House. But unlike Obamacare, it's not the case that Republicans are uniformly anti-legalization. In fact, there are quite a few conservatives who are reasonable on immigration issues. Raul Labrador, Paul Ryan, Bob Goodlatte, Eric Cantor and numerous other leaders from the right wing of the GOP have made statements indicating that under the right circumstances, they would support immigration reform. They want bills passed in a piecemeal fashion and they're not going to create a special green card path for those legalized. They'll also insist on tough enforcement benchmarks. But they're not in the Steve King camp that will oppose any bill that offers hope for people out of status. It very well may be the case that a whole lot of Republicans would sign on to immigration reform if it were a more conservative bill than what has been approved in the Senate. Don't be distracted by the loudmouths in the xenophobic caucus who act as if they have a lot more backers than is actually the case.

2. Immigration legislation must be completed before 2013 is finished.

The thinking here is that Republicans won't want to cast a vote in an election year. While it is true that with the turmoil of the budget deal many more Republicans will face primary challenges, that does not necessarily end the discussion. What could very well happen is that an immigration bill or two that is politically not as controversial - the skilled worker or E-verify bills for example - could pass and set up a conference with the Senate to negotiate the terms of a much broader deal covering a range of immigration issues. And such a deal could take months to hammer out before the new bill is sent to both houses for another vote. This would mean that primary season would be over for many. And supporting immigration reform could be very helpful to many House members in a general election as public opinion polling regularly shows solid support in the broader electorate for immigration reform. Some in the xenophobic caucus are trying to prevent any vote on an immigration bill that would get the House to a conference committee. Whether they have the clout to stop this is far from clear especially given that the Tea Party is not united in opposing immigration reform.

3. Republicans are ignoring immigration reform.

Not so. The budget mess and the Syria crisis may have taken up all the media's attention for the last two months, but I can tell you that behind the scenes, work on House immigration bills has been proceeding. The chance to work on legislation out of the limelight has probably been a blessing for many on the Hill and I think many will be surprised when Republicans show up ready with well fleshed out bills over the next few weeks.

4. The Democrats will never accept legislation without guarantees that legalized individuals will get citizenship.

While a guaranteed path to citizenship is generally understood to be non-negotiable for Democrats, don't be so sure. Republicans are expressing a willingness to allow legalized people to file for green cards in the existing family and employment categories. That would mean legalized folks would need to get to the back of the processing lines which is tied to the quite reasonable notion that people who legalize should not be in a position to get their green cards faster than those who have been waiting patiently outside the country.

The key will be whether the conventional green card categories will have adequate numbers to keep lines from stretching out in to several decades, something that might be a problem with the 1990 quotas under which we're still operating. But I've talked to staffers who are considering various proposals that might help deal with this issue. I'm not prepared to talk about them now, but I will say that it's worth reserving judgment before dismissing out of hand the idea that we won't provide a guaranteed citizenship path. And even without a solution, I hope the one lesson we learned this month is that "red lines" that prevent compromise can be disastrous. Most people I know who lack legal status just want to come out of the shadows and live and work legally. Yes, a green card and citizenship would be great. But it is down on the list of priorities and they would rather get a deal with compromises than no deal at all.

I'd also note that Senator Chuck Schumer and Congressman Luis Gutierrez have both said over and over again that they're interested in compromising to get a deal. And I believe them. Schumer made numerous tough deals to get the bill through the Senate and there's no reason to believe he would let the bill die rather than continuing to reshape the bill to get the votes needed for passage. They've got the skills and influence to get their parties to back them.

So I continue to be optimistic that we'll pass immigration reform and that it will be a bipartisan bill with lots of Republicans on board. I'm not so naive that I don't realize that many things could derail that from happening. But I do believe that there are a lot of people in both parties ready to see it happen.