Immigration Reform — Really? No.

It is hard to take this seriously:

Democratic leaders in Congress have agreed to try to pass immigration legislation this year, placing the explosive issue ahead of an energy bill on their agenda and upending conventional wisdom that it was dead for now.

There are many reasons why this seems implausible. There’s no time to draft and pass a mammoth piece of legislation from scratch, especially with a Supreme Court nomination pending. It’s very controversial, especially with organized labor. It didn’t pass last time, and it’s not clear there is a ground swell of support for it now. So what’s going on?

Well, for one thing, it’s an excuse to not doing anything on cap-and-trade, for which there is no Senate filibuster-proof majority. (There may not even be a simple majority.) So this gets cap-and-trade off the table without admitting yet another item on the Democratic wish list is unpassable. Second, it is a sop to Hispanic advocates, whom the Democrats figure can be mollified in much the same way as gay rights advocates are with distant promises for retraction of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell – the strategy is to start the process and tell them the Democrats are working on it.