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Did Democratic Party Operatives Recruit the Leading Opponents of Immigration Reform?

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Really?  DeMint, Sessions and Krikorian the Face of the GOP opposition? 

As the Senate’s bipartisan Gang of 8 immigration bill moves toward markup later this week in the Senate Judiciary Committee, immigration reform opponents are increasingly public and vocal.

  • Current Heritage Foundation president and former Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), whose reputation as a researcher is, um, questionable, is claiming reform will cost zillions and zillions over decades and decades.  He’s best known for his support of extreme Senate candidates like Todd Akin (R-MO), Sharron Angle (R-NV), Ken Buck (R-CO), and Christine O’Donnell (R-DE).  These moves that led to Republican losses in a series of winnable Senate races in 2010 and 2012 and allowed Democrats to maintain control of the Senate.
  • Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) has emerged as the leading opponent of immigration reform.  With his strong support, his state passed the harshest anti-immigrant bill in the country, a move that severely damaged the state’s economy and reputation.  It now seems that his goal is to do for the nation what that hard line policy approach did for Alabama.

Greg Sargent of the Washington Post’s Plum Line captured the dynamic best in a piece entitled, “The right’s last stand against immigration reform?”

He writes:

In a sense, though, the substance here is beside the point. What’s remarkable about this whole spectacle is that no one is even bothering to pretend that the Heritage study isn’t simply a last ditch effort to kill the bill. That’s widely, publicly, explicitly acknowledged to be the case….

….But it’s just as true today as it was last week that reform is only going to happen if enough Republicans ignore all that noise and decide that short term pain from the base is well worth dealing with in order to give the party a chance to at least begin repairing relations with Latinos, at a time when demographic realities are looking extremely daunting over the long term. And make no mistake — it’s only the far right who opposes a path to citizenship; polls show solid majorities overall, and even substantial numbers of Republicans.

If far right Republicans in the House kill reform, that would be the worst possible political outcome for the GOP. The noise from the far right may have just gotten a bit louder, but the consequences for Republicans of allowing the noise to kill reform haven’t changed at all.

Which is why Democratic operatives are cheering.  They either get immigration reform passed or get to blame DeMint, Sessions and Krikorian for defeating it.  In Washington speak, that’s what’s called a win-win.

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