I agree with WaPo‘s Greg Sargent that amnesty backers are increasingly realizing that it may be now or never for legislative action–in part because the “comprehensivist” coalition has begun to splinter, in part because it would be difficult for the GOP establishment to pass an amnesty bill in 2015 or 2016 without sinking the presidential candidacy of what may be their last, best horse in the race, Marco Rubio. But the desperation runs on both sides of the aisle–affecting Democratic amnesty backers (including maybe Sargent) as well as GOP businessmen scared of tight labor markets, GOP strategists whose seemingly only strategy is to “get right” with Latinos, and the GOP House leaders who love both groups.
In particular, it’s hard to believe that, after confidently predicting a legislative win this term, Democrats and ethnic activists are now content to see their dream slip away until at least 2017, when their coalition may have splintered further. By 2017, the terms of debate might change, away from an “amnesty first, enforcement later” approach. High-tech companies may might be bought off with visa increases. Persistent high unemployment could force unions to bail on higher immigration levels. Latino voters might be partially placated with lowered deportation–including any decrease due to the executive actions Hispanic groups are now pushing.