Immigration Reform in 2010?


Just this week Harry Reid announced comprehensive immigration reform is back on the table for 2010. All that’s needed, it is suggested, is a second Republican to support CIR, along who along with Lindsay Graham, would ostensibly translate CIR into a bipartisan success story.

it’s simply untrue that CIR couldn’t move forward in the Senate without a second Republican sponsor. It is just as obvious that Graham isn’t needed as a co-sponsor, and that reform would be much stronger and have a greater chance of passage were he not considered a key player in this debate.   Graham turns humane reform into a punitive measure.  The Dems have 58/59 votes in the Senate. And Republicans can oppose latino interests at their own peril.

It seems that Reid and folks in the Administration were brought to a ‘jesus’ for CIR moment by someone, Nancy Pelosi ? just as Speaker Pelosi forced a back pedalling president to take hcr head on following the Scott Brown election in January. In January Pelosi convinced the White House of the huge losses that would suffer in November if they backed down on hcr. Same with immigration reform. They will lose in November if they fail to pursue CIR. That simple and obvious.

It has been clear to me that the democrats are not nearly in as bad shape for november as pollsters continue to insist. As Rachel Maddow recently suggested, Obama’s ability to get hcr passed not only reflected his clout but enhanced his leadership.  He gained political capital and democrats gained the opportunity to campaign on a real alternative to the do-nothing–know-nothing GOP.

That is, unless millions of democratic voters stay home in the fall, which is likely to occur if Obama’s team does not push forcefully for comprehensive immigration reform.  If latino voters stay home– which is what is being threatened– the dems will lose big time in November. Immigration Reform is the catalyst to getting latinos to the polls. Even if it doesn’t go through, a good faith effort by Obama and in the senate will rev up this part of the democratic base.

As far as the mechanics of the Schumer-Graham reform process are concerned,  I fear that too much is going to be given away  to the republicans and for naught.  Obama’s need to sate his enemies is perhaps a fatal flaw. His apparent need to give away the store before the debate ever begins is just dumb politics.  The compromise? Schumer-Graham includes Biometrics(a national ID employment card)  and ICE ACCESS (criminal alien programs) for starters.  These provisions will sabotage efforts to regularize the status of undocumented immigrants.  The plan for regularization will take some time to get into place. In the meantime, ramped up criminalization and ICE’s commitment to detention and removal quotas simply confounds expectations for a more humane immigration process.

In the alternative, there is good cause to suggest a more humane immigration reform policy.  Consider a democratic plan in the senate that approximates Louis Guitierrez’ bill in the House (CIR ASAP).  CIR ASAP leaves wiggle room for compromise as the debate unfolds. Schumer-Graham leave no such room, and will end up criminalizing and removing thousands more innocent immigrants who deserve to remain in this country.

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