Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-Illinois) is determined to keep comprehensive immigration reform as the top priority for the Obama Administration. However, the recession, healthcare, as well as conflicts in Iraq and Afgahnistan have taken precedent.
Ira Mehlman, an immigration reform activist (Federation for American Immigration Reform or FAIR) doesn't think Congress is likely to move forward with amnesty legislation this year, despite the wishes of Guiterrez. He says the legislation will be similar to other amnesty bills from previous sessions of Congress aimed at legalizing the 12-million illegal aliens currently living in the United States. He expects more empty promises of enforcement and doubts Congress is going to move as quickly as Gutierrez and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus wish.
"President Obama said this summer down in Mexico [that] this is not likely to come up until next year. A lot of Democrats don't want to have to go back to their constituents and say, 'Look, we didn't get the economy in shape, we didn't get healthcare done -- but hey, we granted amnesty to millions of illegal aliens.' That's not exactly what the constituents back home are looking for them to do in Washington," explains Mehlman. "And there's probably a lot of pressure from within Congress to delay this as long as possible."
Listen to Gutierrez make his case with Jennifer Ludden of NPR here.
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