The New York Times reports that Obama plans to do immigration reform this year. If true, this is great news. I had assumed that imigrtion reform (as well as labor law reform) were mere campaign promises and that Obama was unlikely to follow-up once in office.
The first paragraph of the article reads:
While acknowledging that the recession makes the political battle more difficult, President Obama plans to begin addressing the country’s immigration system this year, including looking for a path for illegal immigrants to become legal, a senior administration official said on Wednesday.
Much of the article is taken up with worries by Democrats that in taking up immigration reform duringg the current economic crisis and in the same year as Congress wil be taking up health care reform Obama is biting off more than he can chew, and the hopes of Republicans that they can use this issue to claw back some of the public support that they lost in recent years. An assumption underlying both the worries and the hopes is that voters will be less sympathetic to the plights of undocumented immigrants because of the economic crisis, especially the high unemployment rate. Perhaps. But the counter-argument is that the opponents of immigration reform are more marginalized in Washington DC than at any time recent meory because they hitched their cause to the Republican party. Supporters of reform need to strike now before the political opening created by the collapse of the Republic party closes.