HOUSE REPUBLICANS came eyeball to eyeball with sweeping immigration reform Tuesday, and they blinked. No matter that a bipartisan group of senators including Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, a favorite of the Republican right, has endorsed a pathway to earned citizenship. In a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee, GOP members still could not reconcile themselves to the prospect that undocumented immigrants might one day become full-fledged Americans.
Instead, they groped for some probationary status — a legal limbo — into which 11 million people, many of whom have already lived in the United States for a decade or more, might be indefinitely slotted. Anything to avoid charting a course for what many Republicans regard as the dreaded amnesty.
It’s their own business if Republicans want to continue alienating the nation’s largest and fastest-growing minority. But politics aside, there are powerful economic, moral and practical reasons to embrace an overhaul of the nation’s immigration system that includes eventual citizenship.