Getting legislation passed in today’s Congress involves following a formula that includes hard work, timing and persuasion.
And perhaps we should add persistence.
Eight United States senators, four Democrats and four Republicans, have decided to try to tackle immigration reform once again. It’s an issue that Congress has long identified as a serious problem, yet has not been able to produce the kind of proposal that can satisfy the different versions of what should be done.
From what has been released about this latest effort, there’s reason to be cautiously optimistic that there’s a chance that reforms will emerge this time around.
◆ Last fall’s national election sent a clear message to Republicans that they should be concerned about their connection with the growing political prowess of Hispanics — who overwhelmingly supported re-electing Barack Obama. If Republicans are going to make inroads into this support, they’re going to have to prove they, too, are in tune with the issues that concern Latinos, especially immigration and the dealing with an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants who are here now.
◆ Our current policy, based upon deportations, including children who know life here better than their native land, clearly isn’t working.
That’s why it appears that this time around, the Republicans working on this issue are backing as part of the legislation a path to citizenship for the men, women and children.
The plan also looks to tighten up border security, make changes in green card policy, improve tracking of people here on visas and seek to take greater legal action against employers who hire illegals.
No one should think that this particular effort will breeze through both chambers of Congress and over the president’s desk. Already there have been reactions who think it’s too lenient when it comes to those illegally here or find fault with the length of time it will take — a decade or more — for someone to get through the path to citizenship.
And the president is still unveiling his own thinking on the matter.
Still, there is a realization that Congress must act.
“There are 11 million human beings in this country today that are undocumented. That’s not something that anyone is happy about; that’s not something that anyone wanted to see happen, but that is what happened. And we have an obligation and the need to address the reality of the situation we face,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida.
Americans will know soon enough if immigration reform’s time has finally come.