This post is a weekly feature by Erin Rosa, Media Consortium Blogger:
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), started a hubbub among comprehensive immigration reform advocates last week when he expressed to members of the Capitol press corps that progressive immigration legislation was “dead” for 2010 due to the contentious passage of health care reform. But the battle isn’t over yet. In an interview with Sandip Roy at New America Media, Frank Sharry, the executive director of DC-based immigration organization America’s Voice, says, “I think we have a good chance of seeing a bipartisan bill being introduced in April.”
Graham’s declaration mirrors similar antics that happened around the health care debate—where insurance reform was pronounced dead countless times by a wide array of pundits and lawmakers. In fact, Seth Freed Wessler of ColorLines reports that Graham, who has been working with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on an immigration reform bill for a year later changed his tune, stating that he would continue to craft a bipartisan bill.
The Battle in the Senate
Gabriel Arana with The America Prospect questions just how the GOP lawmakers will react to the upcoming immigration debate, arguing that, “Even for those Republicans who are willing to publicly support immigration reform, partisan rancor all but ensures it won’t go anywhere.”
And outside the Capitol? As Laura Flanders of GRITtv points out, the immigration debate, “has the potential to be far, far messier—and more violent—than the health care battle,” and will likely galvanize those with xenophobic tendencies on the far Right to become even more unhinged.
On top of that, providing a pathway to citizenship for the 12 million undocumented immigrants in the United States will most likely be dead in 2010 if a bill isn’t proposed in the Senate this Spring. There needs to be time to debate the issue before the end of the year, and more importantly, before election season kicks off in the Fall. While there’s already an immigration bill in the House of Representatives, a timeline for when one will actually be introduced in the Senate is unknown.