In the Wall Street Journal this morning, our friend Fred Barnes strikes a confident tone:
It is rare in Washington for the trend lines on a controversial issue to come together as favorably as they have for immigration reform.
Public support is roughly around 70%, according to various polls, with Gallup having it at 72%. Senate Republicans blocked an overhaul of immigration laws in 2007 but now a substantial bloc of Republicans, alarmed by the GOP’s shrunken share of the Hispanic vote in the 2012 election, are eager to enact “comprehensive” reform legislation.
I would just point out that Mr. Barnes was confident in 2006 and 2007, too. In “Bordering on Progress,” a Weekly Standard piece from May 28, 2007, Barnes wrote:
“In 2006, with Republicans in control of the Senate, an immigration bill that was anathema to most Republicans passed the Senate by a filibuster-proof margin. Now, oddly enough, with Democrats in charge, the Senate is likely to approve an immigration bill–call it Kyl-Kennedy–that from a Republican perspective represents a major improvement over the earlier bill in almost every conceivable way.
We have three people to thank for this. . . .”
A year earlier, in the Weekly Standard, Mr. Barnes wrote:
“THE IMMIGRATION ISSUE HAS FLIPPED in President Bush’s favor. The public now firmly supports toughened border enforcement plus–and this is a big plus for the president–a system for letting illegal immigrants already in America earn citizenship. This has been Bush’s position all along, though the president has been reluctant to trumpet it. The ones with the politically untenable position are Democrats who want an immigration issue (but not actual legislation) to use against Republicans in November, and Republicans who want merely to increase border security.
“The upshot is that an immigration bill appears likely (but not certain) to pass when Congress returns from its Easter recess on April 24–and probably in a ‘comprehensive’ form congenial to Bush and Republican congressional leaders. . . .”
Ever the optimist. . .