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Signs of the Times

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all manner of signsWe at America’s Voice have to confess, we’re a little giddy when we look around. Why?

As AV Executive Director Frank Sharry mentioned yesterday on the National Immigration Forum’s Press Briefing (Listen/Read):

We believe that there is likely to be a great window of opportunity probably between September of 2009 and maybe the end of March 2010 in which President Obama and the new Congress are likely going to work together to fashion a historic overhaul of our broken immigration system.


Why do we believe immigration reformwill move forward this year? According to Frank:

The signposts that give us this optimism and confidence, number one, the election created a very new understanding of how immigration plays in our political arena.

…I think this past election has created space because what we saw was that those who have – are very strong opponents of immigration reform- are a distinct minority in the electorate, that those for whom immigration reform is a defining issue, in particular Latino and immigrant voters, turned out in record numbers to reward those who they thought would have the best chance of delivering immigration reform.

In short, Latino voters, the fastest-growing group of new voters in our nation, turned out, and voted overwhelmingly for reform-minded candidates. The noisy, but small, group of activists that killed immigration reform legislation in 2007 did not muscle many electoral victories.

But that’s not all. Sharry went on to explain that leaning into reform turns out to be a win with swing voters:

And perhaps an overlooked aspect of it is that swing voters for whom both parties spend an enormous amount of energy trying to attract, are really tired of the fact that the national government hasn’t solved this problem. And they want solutions not sloganeering. And I think that this is a cautionary tale for Democrats who now control Congress and the White House that what voters want is action on tough problems that deliver concrete results.

The signs of the times point decisively to comprehensive immigration reform getting ready to move, and soon. Just what are they?

  1. President-elect Obama campaigned with a promise to begin work on comprehensive reform during his first year in office and has not backed away from this.

  2. The Obama Transition Team chose a team of solid Immigration experts to staff one of only seven Policy Working Groups formed to advise the new administration.

  3. Key appointments and leaders to join the new administration are strong on comprehensive reform. (Solis, LaHood, Napolitano, Muñoz, and more)

  4. Senator Reid’s encouraging immigration statements, confirmed again on Sunday’s Meet the Press bode well for action on immigration.

  5. Majority Leader Reid’s inclusion of an immigration placeholder bill as one of his first top ten bills (No. 9 here) is a concrete first step.

  6. Bush’s exit interview shows that waiting is not an option.

  7. Some Republican leaders, including Senator John McCain, are moving quickly to attempt to reform their party’s hard-line stance on immigration, as mentioned yesterday in The Hill.

We will be working hard to ensure these signs lead to a real reform in the not-so-distant future.

Will you join us?