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Sen. Majority Leader Reid Comment Marks Monumental Shift in Immigration Reform Prospects

by Frank Sharry on 11/24/2008 at 4:48pm

Cross-posted on Huffington Post.

In an interview published in Gannet News Service over the weekend, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid spoke candidly of plans to both address and pass immigration reform legislation in the 111th Congress.

Reid told Gannett News,

“On immigration, there’s been an agreement between (President-elect Barack) Obama and (Arizona Republican Sen. John) McCain to move forward on that. … We’ll do that.”  

The Senate Majority Leader went on say that he did not expect “much of a fight at all,”  and expressed his optimism about passing common sense immigration reform in the near future. 

Why is Reid so confident?

It may have something to do with the failure of anti-immigrant politics at the ballot-box, the growing power of the Latino and immigrant vote, or the realization that Americans are looking to those they elected to tackle and solve the toughest issues of our day.

What’s more, in this new landscape, Senator Reid’s comments join a distinctly bipartisan chorus. Chiming in are many Republican strategists and leaders speaking out against the GOP’s restrictionist, enforcement-only approach to immigration. Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL) recently said on NBC’s Meet the Press:

“There were voices within our party that if they continue with that kind of anti-Hispanic rhetoric, we’re going to be relegated to minority status.”  

In Newsweek, Karl Rove argued that, in order for the GOP to stay afloat, Republicans must truly support policy that “strengthens citizenship, grows our economy and keeps America a welcoming nation.”

Given this new political reality, all signs point to a monumental shift in how immigration reform may be taken up and tackled in the 111th Congress.

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