A plan to reform U.S. immigration laws has hit a very rough patch. (Photo: Vcelloho.)

By Ashley Lopez
Florida Center for Investigative Reporting

Is immigration reform dead?


Well, probably.

The likelihood of immigration reforms being enacted doesn’t look good now that the U.S. Senate has passed a comprehensive bill and legislation is locked in the U.S. House, which has not come up with its own immigration plan and is not supporting the Senate’s path to citizenship.

In a blow to the chances for immigration reform, the GOP-led House announced this week that it won’t take up the bipartisan Senate plan and will instead opt for piecemeal legislation.

The Tampa Bay Times’ Washington bureau reports:

House Republicans gathered behind closed doors [Wednesday] afternoon to discuss immigration reform, with leaders signaling something must be done, but rejecting the bill designed by Sen. Marco Rubio and others in the upper chamber.

“Today House Republicans affirmed that rather than take up the flawed legislation rushed through the Senate, House committees will continue their work on a step-by-step, common-sense approach to fixing what has long been a broken system,” House leaders said in a statement. The move was not unexpected.

So far, these individual House bills have been much tougher than the Senate GOP-tested immigration bill. One of the House bills making its way through committees includes a law that would make it a federal crime to be an undocumented immigrant in the United States.

Of course, bills like that won’t make it through the Democratic-led Senate, and Senate leadership has already committed not to sign off on any final plan from the House that does not include a path to citizenship.

As Brian Beutler at Talking Points Memo put it, immigration reform simply put “has no pulse.”

Mike Allen of POLITICO said immigration reform is experiencing a “slow death”:

In private conversations, top Republicans on Capitol Hill now predict comprehensive immigration reform will die a slow, months-long death in the House. Like with background checks for gun buyers, the conventional wisdom that the party would never kill immigration reform, and risk further alienating Hispanic voters, was always wrong — and ignored the reality that most House Republicans are white conservatives representing mostly white districts.

These members, and the vast majority of their voters, couldn’t care less whether Marco Rubio, Bill O’Reilly and Karl Rove say this is smart politics and policy.

It doesn’t look good for immigration reform.

However, it might be cynical or premature to say it’s all over. There are still rumblings that immigration reform is not completely dead. Instead, immigration reform just won’t be what many hoped it would be. Specifically, immigration reform might end up excluding a path to citizenship, which many lawmakers considered a defining aspect of true immigration reform.