When Rahm Emanuel served in Congress, he was also the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. He was not particularly helpful when it came to immigration reform–in fact, he was often hostile. Here’s what then-Congressman Emanuel said about the issue back in October of 2007:
For the American people, and therefore all of us, [immigration has] emerged as the third rail of American politics. And anyone who doesn’t realize that isn’t with the American people.
His insight was wrong then, and it’s wrong now. Fortunately, Emanuel–now mayor of Chicago–has come to realize this, and changed his tune on the need for immigration reform. What a difference five years–and an election that showed the power of Latino voters who care deeply about immigration reform–makes.
Over the weekend, Mayor Emanuel penned an op-ed for the Washington Post, which included this line:
While Republicans are likely to become less intransigent on immigration, Democrats need to push for comprehensive immigration reform to ensure that, true to our history, we continue to be the party of opportunity and inclusion.
The fact that Democrats need to push for and pass immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for the eleven million undocumented people living in the U.S. isn’t new. Some have been working on it for years, decades even. But for a long time, they’ve been met with obstinate opposition on both sides of the aisle. Fortunately, that’s changing.
So, welcome to the team, Rahm. Better late than never.