On Thursday, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and an opponent of a pathway to citizenship, served notice that the delay-and-dismemberment plan was under way. Rather than wait for a comprehensive immigration bill to wend its way through the Senate, or for a roughly similar plan to emerge from a bipartisan group in the House, Mr. Goodlatte said his committee would consider a series of smaller bills.
That strategy gives conservatives a chance to say they were for immigration reform before they were against it. They may vote for bills that would tighten border security, provide a steady source of migrant farm workers and expand a program that companies may use to verify the immigration status of employees. Then, decrying “amnesty,” they can shoot down measures that would extend legal status and eventual citizenship to most of the undocumented.