Even before health care reform passed, Washington was consumed with talk about whether immigration reform would be next
on the Democratic agenda. After all, Senators Chuck Schumer and Lindsey
Graham recently sketched the loose contours of a plan in the Washington
Post. A Sunday rally in Washington, D.C
. demanding immigration changes sought to demonstrate the popular push
for reform. Is the momentum building, or is the issue too controversial
to kick off before the November elections?
- Immigration Activists Getting Louder The New York Times' Julia Preston reports,
"The rally brought the return to major street action by immigration
activists, who turned out hundreds of thousands of protesters in
marches and rallies in 2006. After an immigration overhaul measure was
defeated in Congress in 2007, the pace of enforcement raids picked up
and many immigrants, especially those without legal status, preferred
to lay low. But immigrant advocates decided to gamble by calling the
march, to give a show of force that might impress Mr. Obama and also to
vent the frustration of many immigrants who have taken to heart his
repeated promises that he would move an immigration bill in Congress by
early this year."
- Needed to Fill Employment Gap The Wall Street Journal's Justin Lahart finds a study
warning, "by 2018 there will be 14.6 million new nonfarm payroll jobs,
plus some additional jobs in farming, family businesses and so on.
Meantime, with no change in immigration policy or labor force
participation rates, there will only be about 9.6 million workers
available to fill those positions, leaving a gap of more than 5 million
jobs that are vacant."
- Would Be Tea Party Disaster The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder says
both parties worry that "health care will be child's play compared to
the tantrums over the prospect of earned legalization and other
measures. The overlap between the Tea Partiers and ethnocentric
immigration restrictionists is huge, and even many Republicans worry
that the embedded nativism in the movement, whether or not it is also
racialized (as a proxy for being against Obama and his ilk) will come
to the fore in a way that once again diminishes the fervor of
right-leaning independents and energizes Hispanics."
- Won't Happen Until Economy Rebounds The L.A. Times' Jeffrey Kaye explains,
"Anti-immigrant sentiment and immigration crackdowns have always
paralleled America's economic fortunes. Immigrants have been welcomed
during good times, only to find themselves vilified when times get
tough." Until unemployment is down and the Dow is up, immigration
reform will be unlikely.
- Already a Big GOP Issue in California Hotline's Beth Sussman reports
that immigration is "already playing a role" in the California
governor's race. In the Republican contest, both candidates "have tried
to out-conservative each other on the issue in the past week" by seeing
who can demand tougher restrictions on immigration.
Want to add to this story? Let us know in comments
or send an email to the author at
mfisher at theatlantic dot com.
You can share ideas for stories on the Open Wire.