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Opinion
Francis Wilkinson

Republicans Will Pass Immigration Reform. Soon.

While some contend that the advent of an election year dooms immigration reform, history suggests otherwise. 

Three Republicans signedon to the House Democrats' immigration bill in the past week, which is the best news the reform movement has had in a while. Even so, passing comprehensive reform in this Congress remains a tough slog. For one, the troubled rollout of Obamacare gives House Republicans an activity -- attacking! -- they enjoy far more than legislating. And given the political dynamics of the Republican conference, and the prickliness of the issue, immigration legislation is especially unfun.

While some contend that the advent of an election year dooms immigration reform, history suggests otherwise. Many immigration bills have passed in even years, including the comprehensive reform of 1986, which the current Senate bill (slightly modified and embraced by House Democrats) resembles in its political balance between enforcement and legalization of undocumented immigrants. Other immigration legislation passed Congress in 1996, 1990, 1980, 1976 and 1952.