Stanley Renshon's blog

Immigration Reform in a Republican-Controlled Senate, Pt. 5

By Stanley Renshon, April 23, 2014

The best path to real immigration reform in a 2015 Senate narrowly controlled by Republicans -- as many as 13 of whose likely GOP members voted for the Democratic immigration bill in 2013 -- is through the chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

The chairman can set the direction of the committee and frame the specific issues it will address and hold hearings on, but he can do much more. He can choose which immigration bill will be brought before the committee for debate and markup. Read more...

Immigration Reform in a Republican-Controlled Senate, Pt. 4

By Stanley Renshon, April 21, 2014

Any realistic numbers by which Republicans would gain control of the Senate would still leave the relative weight of the parties rather close to each other. That means that getting Republican legislation passed, including immigration legislation, will not be easy. That includes real immigration reform. Read more...

Immigration Reform in a Republican-Controlled Senate, Pt. 3

By Stanley Renshon, April 21, 2014

Life and politics rarely proceed in a straight line. And that goes for the possibility of real immigration reform in a Republican-controlled Senate.

The actual numbers of Republican Senators, new and old, who would support real immigration reform, as opposed to a 2015 clone of the Democrats' 2013 effort, is a question mark. Read more...

Immigration Reform in a Republican-Controlled Senate, Pt. 2

By Stanley Renshon, April 16, 2014

The numbers count of any likely GOP Senate majority in the new Congress suggests that real immigration reform is by no means a forgone conclusion. Indeed, it could be rather iffy.

The ratio of Democrats to Republicans is important, as is control of the Senate. And the actual composition of the crucial Senate committees matters as well, and that certainly includes the Senate Judiciary that has primary (but shared) jurisdiction over immigration legislation. Read more...

Immigration Reform in a Republican-Controlled Senate, Pt. 1

By Stanley Renshon, April 15, 2014

Let's image the GOP does gain the six seats necessary to win control of the Senate, and maybe even the few additional seats that Nate Silver thinks possible. Let's further imagine that it then sets out to do the right thing for real immigration reform. What then for immigration reform?

Well, there's good news and bad news. Read more...

Republicans on Immigration Reform: A Time for Choosing

By Stanley Renshon, April 14, 2014

Debating and passing immigration reform in the House after the new Congress is seated in January 2015 would by a seismic event for Republicans and their standing with the public.

But first they will have to choose which public they wish to represent.

Choosing correctly is absolutely central to the Republicans' future. In order to do so, however, Republicans will have to understand that they will be addressing several different audiences in any efforts they take toward any real immigration reform efforts:

Needed: A New Immigration Debate Narrative

By Stanley Renshon, April 11, 2014

House Republicans should step forward immediately after the new Congress is seated to debate and pass real immigration reform. In doing so they not only stand a real chance of having their reforms enacted, especially if the Republicans gain a majority in the Senate, but of also changing the terms of debate.

That new immigration debate is coming, unless Republicans do nothing and allow the old immigration debate to have a new, undeserved lease on life. Read more...

Why Passing House Immigration Bills in the Next Congress Matters, Pt. 4

By Stanley Renshon, April 9, 2014

The period between the 2014 congressional election and the 2016 presidential election is an essential period when Republicans should act on real immigration reform. The passage of real reform legislation by the House, or if possible by the House and (Republican) Senate, would establish that Republicans are serious, reform-minded, and in touch with the repeatedly expressed wishes and concerns of the American public. Read more...

Why Passing House Immigration Bills in the Next Congress Matters, Pt. 3

By Stanley Renshon, April 4, 2014

The latest twist in the Democratic attempt to muscle and scare House Republicans into passing a Senate-like version of their immigration bill is to claim that, according to the Washington Post's Greg Sargent, passing a bill after the November election "will be significantly harder than it is now." (Emphasis in original.) Read more...

Why Passing House Immigration Bills in the Next Congress Matters, Pt. 2

By Stanley Renshon, April 2, 2014

The official spokesman for Democratic Party position, Washington Post pundit Greg Sargent, is worried that House Republicans won't, or alternatively will, pass immigration legislation in the next Congress after the November elections. Actually, he is really more worried about the latter.

Mr. Sargent is certain that the "extremely inadequate" Republican immigrant bill or bills that he refers to — enforcement and citizenship for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) applicants — won't "fix the GOP's Latino Problem". Actually he is worried that it will to a substantial degree, and it might. Read more...

Why Passing House Immigration Bills in the Next Congress Matters, Pt. 1

By Stanley Renshon, April 1, 2014

The effort to pressure House Republicans to pass a Senate-like immigration bill is heating up. At the Washington Post, liberal blogger Greg Sargent warns, "On immigration, the GOP's window for action is closing fast." He reports that several immigrations activists told him that, "The president made it clear that three months from now, if there is no legislative action, he will do more using executive authority. That was the message that we got in different ways."

Message to Republicans: Pass the Democratic immigration bill by the summer, or else! Read more...

The 2014 Congressional Elections and Real Immigration Reform, Pt. 5

By Stanley Renshon, March 30, 2014

There is an old saying in poker and it applies to immigration reform as well: you can't beat something with nothing.

One way or another, win or lose on the votes on immigration legislation in the next Congress to be chosen this November, immigration will be part of the country's 2014-2016 pre-presidential and presidential campaign. And Republicans would be wise to prepare for that fact. Read more...

The 2014 Congressional Elections and Real Immigration Reform, Pt. 4

By Stanley Renshon, March 26, 2014

The immigration clock is ticking. Whatever the outcome of the 2014 congressional elections, the dynamics that surround the passage of the Senate's 2013 immigration bill, or some real reformist alternative, will be in play. If any immigration legislation fails to be enacted in the next session of Congress, immigration issues will permeate the 2015-2016 presidential campaign. If the House passes some immigration legislation, whether it does or does not become law, immigration will still be a part, though not necessarily a major one, in the presidential campaign themes for both candidates.

It would be prudent for those interested in real immigration reform to be prepared for either eventuality. Read more...

The 2014 Congressional Elections and Real Immigration Reform, Pt. 3

By Stanley Renshon, March 21, 2014

If Republicans gain control of the Senate, the chances for real immigration reform will dramatically increase. As Bill Kristol and Richard Lowry understatedly put it, "If Republicans take the Senate and hold the House in 2014, they will be in a much better position to pass a sensible immigration bill."

Kristol and Lowry are even more correct than perhaps they realize. Read more...

The 2014 Congressional Elections and Real Immigration Reform, Pt. 2

By Stanley Renshon, March 19, 2014

Republicans are not the only ones involved in a game of "Beat the Clock".

Democrats and Senate immigration bill advocates have their own version, namely: Read more...

The 2014 Congressional Elections and Real Immigration Reform, Pt. 1

By Stanley Renshon, March 17, 2014

The nature and timing of any House GOP-sponsored set of immigration reform measures is obviously going to be dependent on the outcome of the 2014 congressional elections. Therefore, an obvious point of departure is to consider what would happen if Republicans kept control of the House, but did not gain a majority in the Senate, and compare that to what would happen if, as seems possible, Republicans gained control of both the House and the Senate. Read more...

For Real Immigration Reform Beat the Clock, Pt. 3

By Stanley Renshon, March 15, 2014

Read Part Two

The immigration clock is ticking, but to mix metaphors, it is unclear for whom the bell tolls. Some panicked Republicans are certain that electoral demographic death awaits the party if it doesn't quickly pass something close to or resembling the vast immigration bill passed by the Senate. Liberal pundits agree: "For Republicans, it's now or never on immigration reform."

That is patently false. There exist a number of timing options for real immigration reform, though none of them are particularly favorable for the passage of a Senate-like immigration bill. Read more...

For Real Immigration Reform, Beat the Clock, Pt. 2

By Stanley Renshon, March 13, 2014

Read Part One

The immigration reform clock is ticking, but when we should set the alarm is unclear.

Republican immigration alarmists are certain that "If we don't pass immigration reform this year, we will not win the White House back in 2016, 2020, or 2024." So said John Feehery, once a top aide to former Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, in a recent New York Times article whose title reflects its perspective and most likely its purpose. Read more...

For Real Immigration Reform, Beat the Clock, Pt. 1

By Stanley Renshon, February 28, 2014

In the early days of television, quiz shows were a staple, and none was more popular or enduring than "Beat the Clock". In that show contestants were required to perform tasks within a certain time limit. Their time remaining was counted down on a large 60-second clock in front of a live audience. If they succeeded at the task within the prescribed time limit, they "beat the clock". If not, the clock beat them.

Real immigration reform also is in a race to "beat the clock", but in this case the clock is an unfolding election calendar, whose results at each stage will present a series of opportunities and dangers. Read more...

An Autopsy of the Senate Immigration Bill, Pt. 3: The Question of Limits

By Stanley Renshon, February 24, 2014

Read Part Two

Most immigration discussions totally avoid the subject of immigration limits or assume there are no limits to the number of immigrants the United States can or should take in every year.

A recent Washington Post editorial, for example, complained about what it called an "absurdly long backlog" that exists "because of annual limits that are out of sync with demand."

Well, yes, almost any limits of immigration to the United States will be out of sync with demand. Read more...

An Autopsy of the Senate Immigration Bill, Pt. 2: What Can We Learn?

By Stanley Renshon, February 19, 2014

Read Part One

The working assumption of too many members of Congress, and this was certainly true for the Gang of Eight, is that when it comes to immigration, they know what's best for the country. And if that runs counter to the real immigration enforcement and lower immigration numbers that Americans continually say they want, well, too bad. Their thinking seems to be "We'll just frame the bill in ways that make it seem to respond to their wishes, when in fact it doesn't. And we'll put in a few high-value symbolic items, like having those gaining amnesty be required to pay back taxes, even though we know those gaining amnesty won't really have to do so." Read more...

An Autopsy of the Senate Immigration Bill, Pt. 1: What Went Wrong

By Stanley Renshon, February 18, 2014

The massive immigration bill passed by the Senate has now officially been given last rites by the actions of the House Republicans. Their list of principles specifically states that "we will not go to conference with the Senate's immigration bill" and there is every reason to believe that House Republicans are united on this, if not on the specifics of immigration reform.

It has been a roller coaster trip for immigration policy this year, and it is worth thinking about what went wrong with the process. Read more...

Boehner's Choice: A Very Good Day for America and for Real Immigration Reform

By Stanley Renshon, February 14, 2014

John Boehner's announcement last week that the an immigration law change this year might be a bridge too far for his caucus to cross is very welcome news, both for the United States and for real immigration reform. Read more...

Anatomy of a Misleading Immigration Poll, Pt. 3

By Stanley Renshon, February 14, 2014

Read Pt. 2

The Public Religion Research Institute's poll on immigration reform touts its finding that a majority of Americans support a pathway to citizenship for illegal migrants. They further tout their comparative finding that more Americans support a pathway to citizenship than providing illegal migrants with legalization status without citizenship. Read more...

Anatomy of a Misleading Immigration Poll, Pt. 2

By Stanley Renshon, February 10, 2014

Read Pt. 1

The Public Religion Research Institute, which published a report on immigration that gained some national attention, presents itself as nonpartisan. Perhaps they are. However, their "fact sheet" is a misnomer, as can be easily discerned if you actually look into the survey itself.

As is often the case, the reporting of their survey across the political spectrum has been superficial and, in that respect, misleading. PRRI's immigration poll actually said more, and less, than was reported. Read more...

Anatomy of a Misleading Immigration Poll, Pt. 1

By Stanley Renshon, February 7, 2014

The president's view and that of his allies is that the real stumbling block to immigration reform is "politics," defined literally as the process by which House Republicans express their views in opposition to the Senate's massive immigration plan. Read more...

Why Allowing Illegal Migrants to Choose Their Own Legalization Status Is a Very Bad Idea

By Stanley Renshon, February 3, 2014

Over at the Cato Institute, Alex Nowrasteh has an idea that he thinks will bridge the gap between those who want to give illegal migrants a "path to citizenship" and those who are skeptical. His idea: "Several paths toward legal status should be created and the unauthorized immigrants should be allowed to choose for themselves." Read more...

Let Illegal Migrants Choose their Status? An Even Worse Idea

By Stanley Renshon, January 30, 2014

Conn Carroll's idea for reaching an immigration compromise is to let illegal migrants who are eligible for legalization choose whether they wish to be on a "pathway to citizenship" track or not. His suggestion is based on the erroneous view that those being offered legalization would first have to leave the country and then reapply. Read more...

Let Illegal Migrants Choose their Status? A Bad Idea

By Stanley Renshon, January 28, 2014

Among the most basic compromise ideas being discussed to help resolve some of the major outstanding immigration issues is the idea of offering legalization in return for real and effective enforcement. For example, immigration scholar Peter Skerry has suggested "splitting the difference on illegal immigration" by legalization for as many undocumented immigrants as possible, but citizenship for none of them. Read more...

Immigration Reform in the Public's Interest, Part 3: Legislative Principles

By Stanley Renshon, January 24, 2014

There is a tendency in immigration debates to begin with the specifics of proposed legislation. However the principles that cover the public interest purposes of any immigration reform bill, the processes by which they are debated and adapted, and the legislative principles that frame the effort are very important. They are the foundation on which the specifics of a viable immigration reform bill will have to rest.

Here in abbreviated form, to be further developed in a later CIS publication, is a proposed set of legislative principles. Read more...