Has the Republican Party finally come to its senses on immigration reform? The future of 50,000 Irish undocumented depends on it.
The blueprint document handed out by the House leadership at its convention with House members in Maryland on Thursday allows a path to legalization for most of the 11 million undocumented, but not full citizenship.
You will hear a lot of comment from the left that citizenship is a critical component. But to the average undocumented person, being able to work and travel legally would be massive advances
The Republicans are playing this cleverly, revealing just enough to interest the other side while not antagonizing their own base.
The dream of immigration reform has never been closer in my opinion. This one page document shows that House Congressional leaders, including Speaker John Boehner, recognize the political reality.
Mitt Romney took less than 30 percent of the Hispanic vote in the last presidential election. No Republican can win the White House without taking at least 40 percent of that vote, especially as the Hispanic population grows.
That is why figures like Karl Rove, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and many leading right wing groups are pushing for immigration reform now.
Republicans have lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections, and while President Obama has given them an enormous opportunity with the healthcare screw-up, it appears less than likely that the GOP can win the White House back in 2016 or the senate in 2014.
Smart GOP pols like Paul Ryan, a sure candidate for 2016, recognize that reality and are calling for the party to put the immigration issue behind them, now. Republicans would do well to listen to Ryan.
Meanwhile, Democrats would do well to listen to the undocumented who will surely tell them that this deal should not fail just because citizenship is not immediately guaranteed.
There will be plenty of time in the years ahead to clear up that issue. But for 50,000 Irish undocumented, the future is now.
Hopes are once more being raised, and this time there may actually be a real chance of reform happening.