Top House Republican says immigration reform unlikely in 2013

Despite pressure from dozens of groups across the political spectrum, it is beginning to look more and more likely that the House of Representatives will not be taking up an immigration reform bill by the end of 2013. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., the majority whip, told immigration activists who were staging a sit-in at his office that the House would not be able to address the issue in the little time remaining before the end of the year.

Running out of time?
With four months having gone by since the Senate passed its bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill, the argument that there wasn’t enough time to pass comprehensive immigration reform seems to be holding little water among political analysts, groups who have lobbied in support of the legislation and the voting public.

Even President Barack Obama weighed in on the delay, saying, “Obviously, just because something is smart and fair and good for the economy and fiscally responsible and supported by business and labor and the evangelical community and many Democrats and many Republicans – that does not mean that it will actually get done. This is Washington after all.”

Next year?
With any action this year looking unlikely, people on both sides of the debate are looking to early 2014 as the next window where they might be able to get sweeping immigration reform legislation passed. However, there is even skepticism over whether that will be possible, with national elections approaching later in the year.

One Republican lawmaker who is actively working on immigration reform legislation is Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida. His proposal focuses on tightened border security and finding a way to get the nation’s nearly 12 million undocumented workers “right with the law,” Diaz-Balart told The New York Times.

“I’m as optimistic as I’ve ever been about the chances of getting this [immigration reform] done in this Congress,” he went on to tell the Times.