Can Dems Get Immigration Reform This Year?

Not if Obama has anything to say about it

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With Arizona's immigration law drawing national controversy, some congressional Democrats have decided that now is the time to push for national immigration reform. Senate Democrats have put forward a plan. But President Obama appears uncertain that the issue should be pursued so close to the November elections and at the same time as his financial regulatory reform and environmental pushes.

  • Immigration Will Define 2010 Elections The Washington Post's Ezra Klein decrees, "Like it or not, the 2010 election is now (substantially) about immigration. ... Hispanics are an important part of the Democratic coalition. They're owed a response to the Arizona law. And denunciations aren't good enough: The only response that makes sense is an actual solution to the problem."
  • ...No It Won't Liberal blogger DougJ differs. " Just because people most voters have heard about the Arizona law and a slight majority favors it doesn't mean that it will be the issue that most motivates voters, especially not supporters of the Arizona law. In the 2008 Republican primary, Tancredo, Giuliani, and Romney spent a huge amount time immigrant-bashing, then lost to the co-author of a liberal immigration reform bill. And that was in a Republican primary."
  • Obama Doesn't Want It This Year The Associated Press' Suzanne Gamboa reports, "Immigration reform has become the first of President Barack Obama's major priorities dropped from the agenda of an election-year Congress facing voter disillusionment. Sounding the death knell was Obama himself."
  • Won't Pass This Year  The Plum Line's Greg Sarent says "the Arizona law is forcing the issue into our national consciousness, whether leaders of both parties like it or not." But, "Senate Dem sources tell CNN that it's unlikely to move this year, and President Obama also poured a vat of cold water on the possibilty of quick action in remarks to reporters yesterday.But any movement is good movement."
  • Divided Democrats  Politico's Kasie Hunt reports, "The issue sharply divides Democrats along geographic lines -- and would set up a tough vote for moderates like Sens. Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas. 'It cuts both ways, I'll be honest with you. There're some who need it and some who don't,' [Democratic Sen. Richard] Durbin said of the 2010 Democratic Senate candidates."
  • Dem Plan Is 'Enforcement-Heavy'   The American Prospect's Gabriel Arana evaluates. "So far, it looks like the bill harshly punishes those who would illegally try to come to the U.S. in the future and goes easier -- though by no means easy -- on those who've already made it here. Quite plainly, the only difference between the two classes of people that would be created by the bill is timing."
  • On Immigration, Obama Is Bush  Form Bush adviser Mark McKinnon writes in the Daily Beast, "In my 25 years in politics, I've never seen an issue as explosive or divisive as immigration reform. The politics are not conventional; they make for strange bedfellows. This is an issue where Barack Obama and George W. Bush and Jeb Bush are in agreement calling for compassion and pathways to citizenship." He laments that Bush was not successful in passing immigration reform. "Because of the failure at the federal level to enact meaningful reform, our political structure has created the conditions that encouraged and allowed Arizona to pass an ugly, onerous, and, one hopes, unconstitutional law."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.