The push toward immigration reform over the past year has been a long and disappointing haul. What started as an optimistic “Gang of Eight” garnering bipartisan support has become an all-out bipartisan battle. At a press conference last week, Illinois Democrat Representative Luis Gutierrez accused Republicans of “insulting Hispanics” and refusing to vote on immigration reform in the House. Gutierrez called on the President Obama to pick up the slack.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, also accused House Republicans of failing to pass a bill that would accomplish the very goals on which they claim to be focused. He stated, the House Republicans “claim to be working on jobs bills and legislation to reduce the deficit. The fact is that the Senate-passed immigration bill reduces the deficit and spurs the economy more than all the House bills currently awaiting Senate action combined.” Reid emphasized that Republicans are currently faced with a choice to either allow the vote on “commonsense immigration reform” or “be the ones to blame for killing it.”
Other pro-reform organizations have piped in as well, arguing that even if a vote is not taken on the bill this year, the fight for reform will not be over. A representative of the Fair Immigration Reform Movement, expressed persistence: “They will not quench our thirst for justice. Our families will stay at this until there are no more fathers, no more mothers, no more children in fear of being separated. This fight is bigger than politics and we will win.”
Nevertheless, it looks like immigration reform will not happen this year as the bill is set to expire at the end of the year with the conclusion of this Congressional session. Fortunately, the immigration community has been relentless, and so we can only hope that this year’s struggle, although ultimately a disappointment, has brought us at least one step closer to immigration reform. In the words of Rep. Gutierrez, “If we don’t win now, we will go back, we will register, we will naturalize people, we will win the election in 2016. We will take the house, the senate and we will craft our own bill.”