The right-left immigration alliance is fraying

The tension is deepening among the diverse coalition of pro-reform groups, threatening to upend the unusual alliance of advocates on the left and right that at one time seemed to ensure that some type of overhaul was inevitable.

“First of all, I’m very, very grateful of what they’re doing right now,” said Gustavo Torres, the executive director of CASA in Action. But “it’s not enough. They have a lot more capacity to tell the leadership [to] solve this once and for all.”

Liberals want the conservative reformers to get aggressive and threaten Republicans politically. They want business interests to marshal the same energy for immigration reform that they did earlier this month to kill an Arizona bill that would have allowed businesses to discriminate against gays and lesbians on religious grounds.

“In Arizona, they didn’t only say it was bad to do this to the LGBT community. They said, ‘we’re going to punish you if you do this,’” Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) said of business interests that aggressively pushed back against the legislation. “I think that capsulation is what I would like to hear more of” on immigration.