An Update from the Desk of Rich Stolz, Co-Director of FIRM
It’s still too early to assess the implications of the Senate’s failure to move forward on immigration reform, but political currents are moving in a very bad direction. And it’s not just because the bill failed, it’s because it was perceived to be such a lobsided defeat. In the Senate, emboldened by their ability to thwart the Democratic leadership, right-wing Republican Senators appear to be eyeing other legislation in an effort to either undercut good legislative proposals that may have peripheral connections to immigrants (for example, health care coverage for uninsured children – whether immigrant or not – may become their next victim), and they are looking to attach enforcement-only provisions to anything they can. Whether moving the DREAM Act and the AgJOBS bills is possible in this political moment remains unclear.
Democrats in the House still appear unable or unwilling to craft any coherent strategy on immigration reform – either in defense against bad legislation or in favor of positive legislation – and continue to stand in a “wait and see” posture. This remains true even as House Republicans have announced their intention to pass a border security bill this year or use it to pummel Democrats through the remainder of the session and into the 2008 elections. An article providing some background ran in The Hill earlier this week: http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/house-republicans-vow-to-take-the-offensive-on-immigration-2007-07-03.html.