I have decided that reform is good, but comprehensive reform is the single worst thing you can do to solve a problem. You don't try to reform your children that way, or your house. Or if you do, you fail. I think folks can pretty readily see that trying to reform your spouse, or your business, or your town in that way would be disastrous.
But people who work in government love this. And here, this is definitely not a left-right issue. Conservative officials fall into this as often as liberals, though both do it less than that vast field of bureaucrats who run most of the government.
This stems directly from the idea that the government is supposed to fix everything, and the impression many advocates have that if their part of the problem isn't being addressed in the current bill, it is a huge insult and a demonstration that the society doesn't find their issue important. Intolerable!
Immigration? So, I understand that building the fence will only solve 15% of the problem of people coming in. Well fine, then, let's do that and move on to the next thing. One bill. Nothing comprehensive. People who have lived here a long time deserve citizenship? Okay then, pick a high standard, one you know you can get enough votes for. Ten continuous years, continuous employment, have to pay some penalty? Seems good enough to me, but we can debate that. Sure, lots of us will be ticked off that some people broke the rules, but really, we'll all get on with life. And all the problems of proof, and people on the margins, or whatever? Doesn't matter, because there will be people just on the edge of qualifying no matter where you draw the line, and we'll go on fighting about that. How about employers skirting the law. Fine, them too. Identify some factors that create the biggest problem and fix that - we know what industries are the problem.
But when you go comprehensive, everyone gets to be first in line. Ever see what happens in those cultures where they don't know how to stand in line and something is delivered free? That's what happens with comprehensive legislation. And in the chaos there is actually more opportunity for crooks, manipulators, and scam artists.
Why would legislators want to put up with this confusion, then? It's an opportunity for horse-trading, to get their small (and sometimes sketchy) causes put into the mix, to feel that they have done some good for everyone, whether they have or not. Consider those people throwing the food off the back of the truck in an impoverished area. The decent people find it heartbreaking, because they can only do so much, and they are unable to make everyone go fairly.
But others like it. It doesn't bother them at all. Not that all politicians are as sociopathic as those distributors, but that there is a kick to it, and it attracts that sort, and the longer you do it the more fun it gets.