Two retiring GOP senators, Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas and Jon Kyl of Arizona, introduced an immigration bill last month that would give legal status to qualifying undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, reports Politico. But the post-election bipartisan push to accomplish immigration reform has hit a snag already, with some Republicans advocating piecemeal legislation and others agreeing with Democrats that a comprehensive bill is the way to go.
Politico’s Jim Vandehei and Mike Allen write, “while top Republicans think they need to make a big move on the issue and actually want a bipartisan deal with Obama, the rank and file remain skeptical. It is this tension that is defining the behind-the-scenes machinations as both parties plan for 2013.” They add:
Many of the Republicans who would have to vote on such a package–and then run for reelection in off-year primaries and general elections dominated by white conservatives–aren’t so sure it’s such a great deal. Regardless of exit polls, demographic trends and lectures from party leaders, lawmakers know that many voters–especially primary voters, and especially their primary voters–hate anything that smacks of amnesty. They will hate it even more, given that the issue is likely to come up just after GOP leaders in Washington have negotiated a tax increase.
Vandehei and Allen report that President Obama plans to “campaign” for comprehensive immigration reform as soon as the fiscal cliff is resolved. A Politico/George Washington University Battleground Poll released Monday shows that 62 percent of the U.S. public support a reform proposal that would provide a path to citizenship for current undocumented immigrants. The poll also found that majorities of Democrats (74 percent) and Independents (61 percent) support this type of proposal, and more Republicans (49 percent) support it than oppose it (45 percent).
–Contributing Editor Kirsti Itameri