I want to get this out of the way. In no way do I approve of the approach the GOP is taking on immigration. Unfortunately, the GOP leadership likes being a part of big government at the federal level. Oh, maybe not as much as Democrats. But, in this day and age where being "proactive" somehow means the GOP can show it can govern, we should expect nothing less than a sellout of conservative principles. But let's face it; unless there is a serious attempt at a conservative third party, we are stuck with the GOP since all of the Democrats have totally given up on the Constitution, America, and all of its people, except for a select few that party panders to. I think it's right to challenge the GOP leadership on this and other issues, and to primary those Republicans who might as well have a D next to their name. But in the end, it is up to all of us to vote for those Republicans who may, in the end, be better for America than any Democrat out there.
With that out of the way, I think I know why the GOP is making the immigration push now.
Ever since the days when George W. Bush was President, and earlier, there have been attempts to reform the broken federal immigration system. Unfortunately, it always comes down to whether or not Republicans will work with Democrats to propose some sort of amnesty. As we know, amnestied illegal aliens are going to be likely Democrat voters and we wonder why the GOP would want this. I think the GOP knows this, believing there would be nothing to stop it from happening anyway. Yeah, yeah, they are taking the position that this will help in their outreach efforts towards Hispanics. I think that's a crock; I think the GOP leadership knows it's a crock. So if it isn't blatant pandering, why would they do it anyway?
Sean Trende put out five potential reasons as to why the push is on now (H/T: AoSHQ). The fourth reason, that this is a PR push, is the most plausible, but misses what I think is the real reason (I don't believe any of the other reasons are at all correct). I also believe everyone else I've read who is denouncing this GOP effort is also missing the reason.
The GOP badly wants to retake the White House in 2016. But as we've seen, Democrats have been able to lie with impunity, aided and abetted by the Democrat media, about Republicans on this or that issue: women, health care, homosexuals, abortion, contraception, the wealthy, the poor, entitlements, yada yada yada. And unfortunately, the GOP response to these lies has been, to be charitable, less than adequate. OK, it has sucked. But here's the thing. Changes to the immigration system are coming. It's a matter of when. And I think the GOP leadership believes it's time to do the proverbial something, even if it angers the base. And, I believe they're right as to the why.
Democrats have long since believed that the federal government drives this country, completely ignoring the actual people who live here, except for a select few. To Democrats, the government isn't just necessary, it's a positive good, at least to them and their corrupt buddies. The implementation of Obamacare really put a broadsword to that notion, along with all of the scandals perpetrated by Obama and the filth in his regime. The GOP leadership rightly figures that they will hold the House this year, and Democrats seem to have seized on that perception as well. The real battle in 2014 is the U.S. Senate. Because of Obamacare, more Democrats than expected are in real trouble. Not too long ago, the GOP figured it had about a 50-50 chance of taking the Senate. Since the Obamacare rollout, the chance to not only take the Senate has improved, it has improved greatly, with some believing they could take 10 seats. Even if that is stretching things a bit, there's a really, really good chance the GOP will take the Senate this year. And what I think is that no matter what happens with immigration reform, the GOP leadership believes there will be enough of a turnout of voters to give the GOP the majority in the Senate. That is what I believe they are thinking.
But taking the Senate and retaining the House is no guarantee of a Republican President elected in 2016. Which is why the immigration changes are being pushed this year. If they wait until next year, which will be the next Congress, it will have to take center stage with the Presidential election, something the GOP does not want to have to deal with at the same time. To avoid the ridiculous charges of racism that Democrats will levy at Republicans, which will occur even if the immigration changes are passed, the GOP can counter that they did get a bipartisan immigration "reform" done. Believe it or not, this will actually allow this version of immigration "reform" to be taken off the table as a campaign issue for the 2016 run to the White House. In fact, a Republican candidate can then run on strengthening the border (whether it happens or not is anybody's guess; but I wouldn't hold my breath on a campaign promise to do so) and doing more to really reform the immigration system.
Again, I don't agree with this approach at all. But I believe this is how the cocktail-circuit, Washington-centric GOP sees as to why these immigration changes need to be made this year and not put off. If you think as a Republican in the party's leadership, this reasoning is the most plausible.