The real congressional immigration showdown will happen in 2017

No sweeping reform bill will pass in this Congress. The next one is a different story.

Immigration politics remain a deep source of friction in the House Republican caucus. One of the reasons for this friction is that immigration touches on a host of issues central to debates about conservatism in the 21st century. Among these issues are the role of the nation-state, the place of economic narratives for republican well-being, whether to accept or confront escalating socioeconomic stratification, the role of business interests in crafting government policy, the fiscal and moral sustainability of the welfare state, and other topics.

Immigration politics helped bring down Eric Cantor and certainly didn’t help Kevin McCarthy’s bid for the speakership. They have also added obstacles to Paul Ryan’s path to the speaker’s chair. Congressman Ryan is a multi-decade veteran of the nation’s immigration debates, and many center-right activists are highly skeptical about his record on this issue.