A possible immigration reform measure got a very important boost this morning when Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) endorsed the idea of a pathway to citizenship. To begin with, Paul is a senator and every senator who supports the idea gets the chamber one vote closer to passing a bill.
More importantly, this endorsement by Paul now means a significant number of the top tier possible 2016 Republican Presidential candidates support a pathway to citizenship. This should make it easier for regular rank and file members to get on board with it.
Gov. Chris Christie has supported the idea for years, Sen. Marco Rubio is currently working on the legislation which would contain one, and former Gov. Jeb Bush voiced his support for it earlier this month. According to a PPP poll last month, Rubio, Christie and Bush are among the top four choices of national Republicans. Similarly, in the recent CPAC straw poll Paul, Rubio and Christie took first, second and fourth place respectively.
Because of gerrymandering and natural sorting, the average Congressional Republican’s biggest election concern is a primary challenge. This makes regular Republicans reluctant to take any position that may end up placing them to the left of their party’s eventual standard bearer. If the next Republican Presidential nominee endorses a pathway to citizenship, then it should be easier for other Republicans to vote for such a bill.
Photo by Gage Skidmore released under Creative Commons License