Immigration: the status quo wins?

Clarice Feldman
The brilliant young political scientist Jay Cost sees a dismal prospect for passage of the Immigration Bill.
Broadly speaking, I am skeptical that any type of immigration reform bill could pass through the Congress. My intuition is that all bills of substance will alienate at least forty-one Senators or 218 Representatives. I think the problem is that enough House members are so strongly animated by the dimensions that I have called social justice and social integration that any bill that passes the House will have to be very "protectionist" - too protectionist to pass the Senate. In other words, preferences on this issue might be aligned in such a way that, given the majorities our system requires, there is no bill worth mentioning that could gain the support of a sufficient number of legislators in both chambers.

Mind you, this is the case for many issues. Our system has a very strong status quo bias. When our system once again "fails" us on this, people will want to know whom they should blame. I say, "blame" the Founders. They envisioned the diverse, large Republic that we have, and they designed our system specifically to manage those diversities. Their solution was that most of the time the status quo wins.
The brilliant young political scientist Jay Cost sees a dismal prospect for passage of the Immigration Bill.
Broadly speaking, I am skeptical that any type of immigration reform bill could pass through the Congress. My intuition is that all bills of substance will alienate at least forty-one Senators or 218 Representatives. I think the problem is that enough House members are so strongly animated by the dimensions that I have called social justice and social integration that any bill that passes the House will have to be very "protectionist" - too protectionist to pass the Senate. In other words, preferences on this issue might be aligned in such a way that, given the majorities our system requires, there is no bill worth mentioning that could gain the support of a sufficient number of legislators in both chambers.

Mind you, this is the case for many issues. Our system has a very strong status quo bias. When our system once again "fails" us on this, people will want to know whom they should blame. I say, "blame" the Founders. They envisioned the diverse, large Republic that we have, and they designed our system specifically to manage those diversities. Their solution was that most of the time the status quo wins.