Immigration reform gets big boost

The overwhelming approval this week of the bipartisan budget deal signals a big win for U.S. House Speaker John Boehner.

The question now becomes whether he is feeling his Wheaties enough to push through some other legislation that needs to be enacted — such as immigration reform.

The 332-94 House vote approving a budget deal that forestalls a government shutdown has been described as Boehner’s win over the tea party wing of his Republican Party. The tea party clowns also have been yammering against any effort to reform the nation’s immigration laws.

Boehner, until right about now, has been listening to the tea party crowd and saying things like the House won’t act on immigration this year, or maybe even next year. The budget victory now sends other signals that Boehner — who many believe wants to do an immigration deal — might be willing to step on a few more tea party toes.

Go for it, Mr. Speaker.

The nation needs desperately to give the 11 million or so undocumented immigrants living here a chance to come out of the shadows. Do they deserve a complete amnesty? No. They do deserve a chance to become citizens if that’s their desire. President Obama wants to enable those who were brought here as young children a chance to wipe the slate clean, given that they’ve grown up as Americans and know nothing other than life in this country.

The president has an unlikely ally in that effort in the form of GOP Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who also happens to be a tea party darling and who might run for president himself in 2016. Perry, though, governs a state with a large illegal immigrant population and he understands the complexities of the issue and knows how hard it is to round ’em all up and send ’em back the country of their birth.

So, I’m hoping Boehner can decide that the tea party wing of his party isn’t quite so fearsome and he can move immigration reform through the House of Representatives. If nothing else, he can help head off the designation that this Congress has earned for being so unproductive.

No one wants the “do-nothing” label hung around their neck, correct Mr. Speaker?