Over the past few months, we have seen a slew of news stories predicting what will happen with immigration reform in 2014, after the Senate passed a strong bipartisan reform bill last year, but the House failed to act. While these analyses differ in their predictions, most agree that the path from bill to law becomes more difficult in an election year.
Yet if history is any guide, immigration reform absolutely can become law in an election year. In fact, the House of Representatives passed almost all of the past three decades’ major immigration legislation during election years. These bills passed both in times of undivided and divided government—with one party controlling the House and one party controlling the presidency—and in election years in which the majority party kept and lost control of the House.