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Consider what just happened on immigration, an issue ripe for resolution. A majority of Americans support granting citizenship to illegal immigrants meeting certain qualifications – by 81 percent in the most recent CNN poll – as well as enhanced border controls. The leadership of the Republican Party in both houses of Congress talked about a comprehensive reform package that would create a lengthy waiting time for citizenship – 13 years – and couple this with tougher enforcement. But it became clear to the Republican leadership that even this would be unacceptable for many tea party Republicans. So on Jan. 30, party leaders circulated a new proposal that took away any prospect of a special path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, no matter how long they waited. For these reasons, as well as the recession, the number of illegal immigrants has not increased in several years.Still, it continues to exert a powerful influence on the Republican Party.Immigration was supposed to be ripe for common-sense reform.
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