At least one Republican leader on immigration in the House is ready to allow President Obama and Democrats to take credit for any reform efforts that might pass this year.
“I think my party understands it’s not going to get any political capital from this, but it’s something we need to do,” Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho told National Journal Daily in a brief interview.
Labrador, an archconservative who voted against Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, for speaker, is the go-to guy on immigration for the rank-and-file budget hawks and tea-party members of the House. It’s safe to say that nothing will pass the chamber without at least a tacit nod from him.
Labrador favors some type of legalization for undocumented immigrants (but no special path to citizenship) and giving employers easier access to foreign labor. In other words, he’s ready to strike an immigration deal if liberals will work with him.
That’s why Labrador was so impressed Tuesday when just such a liberal, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., went out of his way to praise the Republicans who control the Judiciary Committee for seeking input from a variety of stakeholders. “That hasn’t always been the case,” Gutierrez said, referring to a long-held congressional practice in which the majority party stacks hearings with partisan witnesses.