Congress will be away most of August and expects to adjourn for campaigning in early October, at the latest. Barack Obama, Goodlatte says, continues to poison the well by threatening to use his “pen and phone” — unilateral actions — to alter immigration policy without involving Congress.
Goodlatte believes that piecemeal reforms — addressing border security, high-qualification immigrants and other matters separately — would be possible if many people, including Obama, were not holding all progress hostage to the chimera of “comprehensive” reform. Goodlatte has come to the conclusion that many people, including Obama, do not want reform but “only want the issue” of immigration for its political advantages.
Goodlatte, however, will continue the Sisyphean task of pushing the immigration boulder up Capitol Hill. The subject is, for him, personal. Immigration cases were about half his practice as a lawyer before he came to Congress in 1993, and he strongly sympathizes with his former clients — persons who conscientiously tried to become legal immigrants while others, ignoring legality, “would go right around them.”
He does not think "anybody" among House Republicans believes we are going to deport 11 million people. And he thinks a large majority of illegal immigrants would be largely satisfied with legislation providing a pathway to a legal status short of citizenship. If, however, Cantor's defeat reinforces the perception that Republicans are simply hostile regarding immigration and immigrants, ripples from it might swamp attempts to align Republican policy with the 51 percent of Republicans nationwide, who like 62 percent of Americans, favor for the 11 million a pathway to citizenship.