The Dream Act in its current form may have been stopped with a Democratic majority in the Senate, but along with President Obama’s reaffirmed commitment to the issue this week comes the sense that Republicans in both of Houses of Congress will not be able to ignore immigration in the 112th session.
Despite a record number of deportations under President Obama, he has called the Dream Act’s death in the Senate the biggest disappointment of the year and promised to work in a bipartisan manner. As reported by Fox News Latino, President Obama also met with Hispanic leaders this week (all of whom were Democrats) to discuss the next steps to be undertaken in the process of passing comprehensive immigration reform legislation during the next session of Congress. If Republicans don’t allow ample time for the matter to be discussed on the House floor during their reign, they will be forced to confront the issue by the President and persistent advocates.
In a desperate campaign to pass the bill, grassroots activism came up just short in achieving the biggest piece of immigration legislation since Reagan’s presidency in 1986. This active grassroots effort threatens to stay and have a significant impact with the growing population of Hispanics in such states as California and Texas.
Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), one of the foremost voices of passing such legislation, is one official who will not let the next Republican congress shy away from it. Even though five of his Democratic colleagues on the Senate side voted against ending the filibuster on the Dream Act and another skipped the crucial vote, he will continue to hound the right wing over immigration.
“With the Republicans taking over in the House, whose leaders are strongly opposed to immigration and immigration reform, we will likely be playing a great deal of defense for the next two years. Obviously, the President’s veto pen is a crucial weapon against radically anti-immigrant policies,” the Congressman said in statement regarding his meeting with the President.
While Republicans have allocated a small part of their ‘Pledge to America’ to ensuring that America’s immigration laws are enforced, a robust immigration reform plan on their part is not likely to be seen as a priority, reported The Washington Post. This will not be sufficient for the President and his Democratic colleagues in both the House and the Senate. Furthermore, this will not quell the pro-immigration reform crowd’s dissatisfaction. With controlling the border not being enough of a solution to stop certain Democrats from putting forth the notion that the right wing is anti-immigrant, the Republican Party has some serious reputation management to do when it comes to immigration policy.
The positive result that could come out of next session’s bipartisan congress is that if they do decide to take up immigration legislation, an ensuing bill will be neither radically skewed to the right or to the left. Like the recently passed tax bill signed by the President, lawmakers who are really concerned about passing substantive immigration measures will be willing pass a bill that is acceptable to both parties. A congress that is willing to do this, especially on the emotional issue of immigration, will end the notion that all that happens in DC is never-ending partisanship.