Many of our readers ask when comprehensive immigration reform will come up before Congress, Immigration Daily has learnt that it will come to the floor early in 2009 though it is not currently planned for Mr. Obama’s first 100 days.
Sen. Menendez and Rep. Gutierrez are on the warpath for early passage of immigration reform in the 111th Congress. Sen. Menendez had the courage to singlehandedly block a five year extension of E- Verify, and will doubtless push for a significant immigration benefits downpayment before March 6th when E-Verify is set to expire. Rep. Gutierrez and the House Hispanic caucus successfully blocked immigration benefits legislation in the 110th Congress to ensure continued support for immigration reform.
“Immigrants are affected by the economy, the war. . . . But immigration reform is a defining issue,” said Chung-Wha Hong, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition. “It was a threshold issue.”
Efforts to change federal immigration policies have sparked bitter partisan battles in Congress. For years, comprehensive immigration reform measures have failed and scaled-back plans have stalled. Most action on immigration policies has happened on the local level.
Democrats “now have a clear shot at governing,” said Cecilia Munoz of the National Council of La Raza. “If the immigration question is still festering two or four years from now, people are going to (doubt) what they can deliver. . . . Democrats will have to do more than not sound like Republicans.”