The Lost Months

Immigration reformers won the battle of August. Can they win the war?

Kevin Diesch / Landov

Sleepy August, a month of baseball and barbecue, can be a killing field for liberal legislation. The last time Congress mulled immigration reform, back in 2007, the effort died after a grassroots outcry marked by talk-radio screeds and venomous town halls. To avoid the same fate, the forces behind this year's immigration push fanned out across the U.S. during the August recess, organizing rallies and marches, sit-ins and ad blitzes.

If you measure success by events held and headlines generated, the campaign worked. Reformers thumped a shrinking and disorganized opposition. Distracted by Obamacare, the conservative furies never erupted. Liberals exulted, and...

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