Chuck Schumer predicts: Comprehensive immigration reform will pass in 2017

The key bit comes at 4:45 of the clip below, but Politico has the highlights:

Though he acknowledges the turbulent rhetoric on immigrants in the presidential primary race, Schumer predicts a “rainbow at the end of the storm here” and adds: “I think that in 2017, both Democrats and Republicans will come together and pass immigration reform. Paul Ryan has made no secret about the fact that he has been open to immigration reform.”

–Schumer continued: “Our Republican-Democratic coalition in the Senate will be alive and well. And I think if the election results show that this anti-immigration hostility won’t work politically, people will say let’s get it done. I am optimistic. And if I become the Democratic leader … I’m going to make it a high priority.” The Senate Democrat, who led the Gang of Eight negotiations in 2013, said that bill is a “pretty good model” for whatever legislation may come in 2017 and its main tenets – the pathway to citizenship, reforms to the legal immigration system for high- and low-skilled workers – would stay, although he hoped border security could go in a “more progressive direction.”

If the polls are right that Trump is DOA in the general election, the bitterest irony will be that the candidate who ran on a “politically incorrect” immigration platform will have ended up enabling a Democratic rout on amnesty next year. If in fact Trump is an anchor around the ankles of Republican Senate candidates, Hillary will not only win, she’ll have a new Democratic majority in the Senate to do her bidding. And there’s every reason to think Schumer’s telling the truth here when he says he’d make the issue a top priority. He’ll need some Republican backing to get comprehensive reform past a filibuster, but there’s no better time to ask for that than right after the party’s nominee has been routed in an election in which he ran on mass deportation, with the midterms still nearly two years away. In fact, that’s how the Gang of Eight bill got rolling: It debuted just three months after Romney lost big to Obama, thanks in part to a landslide 44-point deficit among Latinos. Schumer realistically would need something like eight to 10 Republicans to vote with him on Gang of Eight II, but the original bill got 14 Republican votes in 2013 with many of those senators (McCain, Graham, and Flake, for starters) likely to be back next year. He can get it done. And really, he has no choice but to try. Democrats will have so many seats to defend in the 2018 midterms that chances are good the GOP will retake the Senate then, complicating any chance of comprehensive reform in the last two years of Hillary’s term. Schumer has two years to make it happen.

In fact, it may be that one of Trump’s (or Cruz’s) strongest pitches as nominee to disaffected Republicans this fall will be that we can’t afford to be #NeverTrump (or #NeverCruz) when Schumer’s already planning the big amnesty push next January. The price of a split party is an open border, and the proof is the audio below. The X factor, of course, is Ryan and the House. He’ll still have a majority — I think — and Schumer’s a thousand percent right that he’s a fan of comprehensive reform. The question is purely whether Ryan, who’s already suspicious to grassroots conservatives and Trumpists, will bend to bottom-up pressure to resist Schumer or whether he’ll cite Democrats’ wins in November as evidence that the party needs to change and it’s time to make a deal, no matter how much his base might howl. Can he afford to screw the right if his majority’s already been somewhat depleted by the results this fall? If there’s a mass boycott by the GOP base in the 2018 midterms, you’re risking a Democratic takeover of the House. Ryan might have to fight whether he wants to or not. Especially if he has his eye on running for the big job in 2020.

Exit question: President Trump would never agree to any comprehensive immigration deal with Democrats, though. Right?

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