The bill also will not get even close to securing the border. There are no “triggers” that would allow a slowdown in the legalization and citizenship process for illegals if certain border security measures aren’t taken. It’s an open invitation for DHS to drag its feet on implementing the will of Congress.
But immigration reform is probably not the issue that will split the Republican Party. As Allah points out, we all have “red lines” that we won’t cross:
We all have our “red line” issues, as Drew says. Offhand, I can’t think of a single person I know privately or on Twitter who supports (or is indifferent to) the Gang of Eight bill and who also traditionally has treated border security as a “red line.” Everyone wants better border security and everybody thinks it’s important for immigrants to follow the rule of law, but when push comes to shove, some people are okay with bending on this in the name of other political goals and others are not. If you believe the polls about background checks and gun control, we might very well win a few extra votes by caving on that too. Want to do that? We might also win some votes by declaring our support for abortion in the first trimester. Okay to do that? We all have our “red lines.”
Indeed we do, but there is not much of a threat to tear the party apart if the House GOP caves on the Senate bill and offers some kind of legalization for those who broke the law. If it was a real threat, I doubt whether Republicans in the House would take it up.
A more likely outcome would be a turning inward by GOP activists and concentrating on electing conservatives at the local level. It is also likely to turn some voters off to the point of apathy.
This has been happening to a smaller extent since the Bush years and could accelerate if immigration reform is passed. It wouldn’t be the sudden rending of a political party, but rather a slow, steady dissolution as supporters fall away.
One can only hope that the president makes good on his threat to veto any bill without a path to citizenship. That’s reform opponents’ Alamo, and you should expect the House GOP to stay united on that.