Like others, I’m reading the T-leaves to see if comprehensive immigration reform is likely to be advanced in 2010. Positive signs leaked out of Harry Reid’s office a few days ago, but then yesterday, the door seemed to creak shut.
1) Harry Reid’s office said that immigration reform would not be brought forward in the Senate this work period. The more it is delayed and the closer to summer and the campaign season we get, the more unlikely serious reform becomes. If CIR is introduced, it is likely to be a symbolic gesture to energize latino voters, rather than an all out fight to pass a complicated reform bill.
2) More important is the departure of Andy Stern from the helm at SEIU. SEIU has been at the forefron of immigration reform for the pasty several years. It is the organization most responsible for turning out 200,000 people on the DC mall March 21. Further, Andy Stern’s efforts to push through hcr were invaluable. His efforts here were largely behind the scenes, but he steered SEIU into pivotal positions of leverage against wavering members of congress, promising, among other things, not to support members who did not vote for HCR. And he has kept to his word. SEIU has been organizing against rogue members. In my opinion, were CIR to become a reality this year, such efforts would need the full weight of SEIU behind them. With Stern’s departure, that is a little less likely to occur.