"Comprehensive immigration reform" appears to be dead for this year, and it probably will remain dead until after the mid-term elections next fall.
All seats in the House of Representatives and one-third of the seats in the Senate will be contested on Nov. 4, 2014, and nobody wants to be tossed out over "comprehensive immigration reform."
It was a different story this past summer, though, before Obamacare erupted. Most Democrats and some Republicans felt they had to do something, and they did.
The Senate voted 68-32 for the Gang of Eight's comprehensive immigration reform bill, aka the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 (S.744). West Virginia Sens. Joe Manchin and Jay Rockefeller, Democrats, voted with the majority.
The bill then went to the House, where it was promptly shelved. Rep. John Boehner, the speaker, doesn't like "comprehensive" and would prefer reforms piece by piece.
What's going to happen after Nov. 4, 2014? Hard telling.
If Democrats and moderate Republicans retain control of Congress, the nation will get "reforms" inspired by the likes of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which wants cheap labor, and the Democratic Party, which wants cheap votes.
But if Conservatives take control, common sense could prevail.
A good first step for everybody would be to deal with facts. Here are some to think about:
1. There is nothing inherently wrong with an individual pursuing the "American dream" by moving to the United States. Such emigration has, in fact, fueled the nation's incredible growth.
2. Not all "illegal aliens" are from Mexico. Politicians - especially Democrats - make the generalization for the sake of argument, but the fact is that many are from other more dangerous parts of the world, including Korea, China and Kenya.
3. Migration affects the economies, social structures and political institutions of receiving nations. In small and controlled doses, the impacts can be handled. In large and uncontrolled doses, the impacts can create chaos. We're seeing chaos in the United States today.
4. Migration affects sending nations. A study on the ethics of migration several years ago found that some communities in Mexico have lost their energy and strength and become ghost towns. Traditional families have been disrupted, and social structures have been destroyed.
5. There's an elephant in the room, and its name is Mexico.
The Mexican government is shedding its poor by encouraging illegal emigration to the United States. The Mexican economy improves and political discontent wanes. What's more, such emigration is profitable. This year, for example, Mexicans working in the United States will send $22 billion in earnings back to friends and relatives in Mexico.
Now let's consider solutions.
First, we must work with Mexico to secure the border. And if someone slips under the wire, he or she should be sent back and then punished by the Mexican government.
Second, we need to track down people who have overstayed their visas and deal with them appropriately. If it means deportation, do it.
Third, we need to re-establish hard and fast immigration quotas. Quotas were removed in 1965 under President Lyndon B. Johnson, a Democrat.
Now for the hard question: What about the illegal aliens who are here, living in the shadows?
Amnesty and citizenship won't do, because that would reward bad conduct. Deportation isn't possible, because it's too costly. And putting them on an "earned path" to citizenship, as S 744 would do, won't work because the path is too steep.
So what's left? Nothing.
That is, we should do nothing and allow the illegal immigrants to be absorbed into the general population over the next several generations.
Will nothing be done? Maybe, but only If Conservatives win in the mid-term elections.
If the Democrats and moderate Republicans win, they'll follow their instincts and do what most politicians do best.
They'll make a bad situation worse.