*Economic Opportunity

Between a Rock and a Hard Place on Immigration Reform

Note to Speaker Boehner: your "I was just kidding" defense for attacking your own Members for not moving immigration reform doesn't seem to be working. Politico reports:

“John Boehner teased them last week for whining about the fact that they couldn’t tackle a tough topic like immigration reform. But conservative immigration foes have yet to let go of the speaker’s remarks about them. In the aftermath, they are stepping up their efforts to thwart any plan that might be afoot among House leadership to jam reform through the House by the end of this year. A group of conservatives plans to meet and strategize this week, and are scouring bills searching for offending language that might somehow slip through their gates.”

“‘We have to man the watchtowers 24/7,’ said Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), referring to a feeling among hard-liners that House leaders will try to sneak through immigration measures.”

On the more rational side of things, other Republicans struck a more optimistic note about getting something done:

“‘I’m out there speaking to colleagues on the issue, and every day I get more and more members who understand that what we have right now is unacceptable,’said Florida Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, one of the chief Republican proponents of immigration reform in the House. Diaz-Balart has a broader legalization bill that has yet to be made public, but he said he believes it is ‘policy that is reasonable, that is fair, that can get strong bipartisan support.’”

“Asked about recent developments on immigration, Diaz-Balart said he now pegs the chances of immigration reform at about 45 percent, adding: ‘I think 15 [percent] is the highest I ever went before.’”

Rock, hard place. It looks like the Speaker has a choice to make.