Sen. Majority Leader Comment Marks Monumental Shift in Immigration Reform Prospects


Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid at the DNC. Photo by NewsHour.

NOTE: This piece was originally featured in the Huffington Post.

BY: FRANK SHARRY

In an interview published in Gannet News Service over the weekend, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid spoke candidly of plans to both address and pass immigration reform legislation in the 111th Congress.

Reid told Gannett News,

“On immigration, there’s been an agreement between (President-elect Barack) Obama and (Arizona Republican Sen. John) McCain to move forward on that. … We’ll do that.”  

The Senate Majority Leader went on say that he did not expect “much of a fight at all,”  and expressed his optimism about passing common sense immigration reform in the near future. 

Why is Reid so confident?

It may have something to do with the failure of anti-immigrant politics at the ballot-box, the growing power of the Latino and immigrant vote, or the realization that Americans are looking to those they elected to tackle and solve the toughest issues of our day.

What’s more, in this new landscape, Senator Reid’s comments join a distinctly bipartisan chorus. Chiming in are many Republican strategists and leaders speaking out against the GOP’s restrictionist, enforcement-only approach to immigration. Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL) recently said on NBC’s Meet the Press:

“There were voices within our party that if they continue with that kind of anti-Hispanic rhetoric, we’re going to be relegated to minority status.”

In Newsweek, Karl Rove argued that, in order for the GOP to stay afloat, Republicans must truly support policy that “strengthens citizenship, grows our economy and keeps America a welcoming nation.”

Given this new political reality, all signs point to a monumental shift in how immigration reform may be taken up and tackled in the 111th Congress.

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  • Salsababy

    Hoping, hoping, hoping that as part of the desperately needed immigration reform. The 10 year bars are lifted from spouses of citizens. Thousands of families are forced to live apart because of this, with there only hope a long and difficult application for a waiver. Please let families be together. A path to legal residency should allow for a reprieve for those that overstayed and chsore to leave, unable now to return.

  • shabahat

    People in h1-b category applying for green card should get some relief as they have waited long enough to get GC and have been working and paying taxes as any other permanent resident. Please increase the cap for EB-2 India and China and process their cases early. These are worthy individuals with masters degree and above, qualified professionals and don’t deserve such long waits for their dates to become current while other categories that are lesser qualified have current dates. It is like punishing them for being more qualified by putting them at teh back of teh queue. Not fair.

  • Shuxin

    Agree with Shabahat’s comment completely. One more, want to add, is about the college education issue of H1b holder’s children. These children who have finished their high school education, and been accepted by University, as well as obtained financial aids to ensure their success in college, will loss the opportunity without GC. It is really unfair and sad.

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