Obama didn’t say the three words, but words, like promises, are cheap. We’re left waiting for concrete action from the White House and Congress on the immigration front—actions that would speak louder than a thousand words.
Today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Schumer (D-NY) reiterated their commitment to passing comprehensive immigration reform. After the President’s low-fidelity mention of immigration reform in the State of the Union address last night, the Senators’ clearly articulated commitment and bipartisan framework to get reform done was a welcome message. It will be their job, after all, to bring immigration reform to a vote in the Senate, as Representative Gutierrez outlined today.
This morning, Rep. Luis Gutierrez posted this response to the President’s State of the Union address last night: “Last night, President Obama spoke for seventy minutes on the State of our Union. About two of those minutes focused on one of the greatest challenges facing it. The President talked of health care and jobs and our economy. That was the right thing to do. But the President must acknowledge that fixing our economy, providing health care, putting people back to work and moving America forward cannot be separated from fixing our broken immigration system.”
According to the White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs, immigration is a topic likely to be mentioned during tomorrow’s State of the Union address, the first of Obama’s presidency. Via USA Today: “White House press secretary Robert Gibbs confirmed a few more subjects that may surface in the State of the Union tomorrow night, including immigration and gays in the military — but he provided few details and noted that the address is still being edited.”
Congressional Democrats are anxiously anticipating President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address on Wednesday as they look to him to reverse a precipitous political slide that has endangered their majorities and helped revive the GOP.
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.
Asked whether House leadership had the political will to move comprehensive immigration reform legislation once the Senate passes a bill, which members of both houses have indicated is the current strategy, Becerra said: “The answer is, of course.” “This year, working with the Senate, we can accomplish reform of our immigration system. Of course it will be difficult, but with the bipartisan support of the Senate and the House, it is not only possible, but necessary, to finish it this year,” the congressman declared.
A poll of 500 likely voters each in three battleground Congressional districts finds strong support for comprehensive immigration reform. Majorities of voters in Idaho’s 1st Congressional District, Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District, and California’s 3rd Congressional District believe that comprehensive reform will help taxpayers and is a fair solution to our broken immigration system. They also believe that Congress can and should address immigration reform at the same time it handles other issues. Nearly two-thirds of respondents in these districts support comprehensive immigration reform when asked generically, while nearly nine in ten support comprehensive reform upon hearing a description of the policy’s details.
The massive spike in Latino and immigrant citizen turnout we’re set to see this year is also a direct result of large-scale voter mobilization efforts by campaigns and organizations like the We Are America Alliance. Candidates beware: come January, this new voting bloc will be demanding that the next president make real strides to bring his party on board to fix our dysfunctional immigration system, not just our dysfunctional economy.