Immigration Reform 2010–To be, or not to be?

There is a lot of talk around Washington today about immigration reform.  Tamar Jacoby wrote another thoughtful plea for reform, published today in the Washington Post.  Here she sites the two major positions about whether or not reform will happen this year.  One claims that Democrats will attempt to work out a thoughtful bi-partisan bill with the GOP, the other suggests that Dems should use immigration reform as a means to draw out Republicans and expose them as the anti-immigrant they appear to be.  Jacoby’s position is that the latter approach might be a good political move, but would be devastating for cause.  She believes that a failure this year put immigration off the table for a long time. 

I talk to immigration reform advocates all the time, and from what I can tell, there is little hope for major reform.  Instead, many of us hope that some modest measure, like a DREAM Act, will pass.

Regardless of what plan may (or may not) be in the works, it’s clear that the President is making his opinions known.  Just this afternoon the NY Times reports that the President took an opportunity to slap Arizona’s latest immigration law, and made a call for comprehensive reform:

Mr. Obama said the Arizona bill threatens “to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and our communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe.”

He also said that he is monitoring the Arizona bill for civil rights and other implications.
“If we continue to fail to act at a federal level, we will continue to see misguided efforts opening up around the country,” Mr. Obama said.

He did not offer a timetable for reform, but such calls are not overly useful (as we have so painfully witnessed with the health care debate).  Nevertheless, immigration is back on the table.  How long wil it remain there?  That IS the question. 

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