Columnist Reuben Navarrette, Jr. has written an interesting article for CNN, wondering what action, if any, the Democrats will take on immigration reform, now that they are officially in power in both the House and the Senate. Navarrette says almost 70% of Latinos voted Democratic in the 2006 election, but warns Democrats what might happen if immigration reform is not passed soon. The article concludes:
In the days after the election, there were newspaper articles in which sources in Congress said Democrats might want to put the immigration issue on the back burner and — certainly in the so-called 100-hour agenda to be kicked off this week — concentrate on easy victories such as raising the minimum wage, expanding stem cell research, lowering prescription drug prices and tightening congressional ethics rules.
But lately, there’s been talk of a bipartisan coalition in Congress that could approve an immigration bill that gives illegal immigrants a path to legal residency and perhaps even defund 700 miles of border fencing approved in the last session.
Sources in Congress are saying that the process will begin in the Senate as early as this month. Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, and Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, are expected to introduce legislation. It should pass.
Then all eyes will be on the House, which could take up the issue later in the year. What if House Democrats get cold feet and fail to deliver, and Latinos hold them accountable? Let’s just say, they may not want to unpack those boxes just yet. In two years, they may have to find their way back to those smaller offices.