House Republicans have said a top reason for their reluctance on immigration reform is that they can’t trust Obama to enforce any laws they may pass — pointing to the repeated delays in Obamacare provisions that have occurred without Congress’ blessing. A sweeping administrative action on deportations is likely to kill Republican appetite altogether for a legislative fix to the immigration system.
For that reason — combined with 2016 presidential politics — Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) said he believes immigration reform is likely dead until 2017 if it is not taken up and passed this year.
“I’m very much convinced that if it doesn’t happen this year — and this year really means before the August break — that it doesn’t happen,” said Diaz-Balart, who has been trying to rally other House Republicans for an immigration overhaul. “Because let me tell you what happens when the president acts [on deportations], which he is going to: All Cain breaks loose.”
The concerns underscore the difference in the political calculations between the 2014 midterms and the 2016 presidential elections. GOP leaders this year have little appetite to engage in a messy, divisive election-year brawl over immigration when polls show their voters are far more energized on issues like Obamacare, even though many acknowledge they must act to broaden their appeal before 2016.
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