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On Immigration, Scrap the Obituary

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Cross-posted at Huffington Post.

For months, pundits in Washington have been dying to write the obituary for comprehensive immigration reform.  Predictably, they’re using Tuesday night’s special election in Massachusetts as a chance to do just that.  But what they overlook is that immigration may well be one of the few issues where a bipartisan breakthrough is possible.

Yes, Democrats have lost their 60-seat supermajority in the Senate.  But, unlike many issues, the coalition to enact comprehensive immigration reform has always been bipartisan in nature, and the bill was always going to require support from both Democrats and Republicans to move forward. 

That is why Senator Schumer (D-NY) long ago reached out to Senator Graham (R-SC) to develop a bipartisan bill. 

Today, Graham told Congress Daily (subscription required) that backing away from tough issues, like immigration reform, wasn’t what either side should learn from Massachusetts:

“Is the message that Democrats shouldn’t take on anything controversial and is the message that we should not work with them on anything controversial?” asked Graham, who has taken the lead as a Republican in crafting a comprehensive immigration bill with Senate Judiciary Immigration Subcommittee Chairman Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

“I hope that’s not the message. It’s not the message to me,” Graham added. “The message to me was people want you to do things in Washington; just do them openly, transparently and not run up the deficit and increase their taxes.”