Mixed Reports from the Immigration Reform Front

By Jerry Kammer on January 18, 2010

Under the pressure of constant questioning from the Spanish-language media, the White House continues to insist that it wants to move quickly on "comprehensive immigration reform," even as congressional Democrats indicate that they have no desire to deal with the issue this year.

"This is something we take very seriously," Obama aide Cecilia Munoz told Univision newsman Jorge Ramos on Sunday's Al Punto program. "His commitment is there."

Munoz said the White House has been working with members of Congress to prepare a bill for introduction in the Senate, which is expected to take up a bill before the House. "We don't control every element of the plan," she said. "But we are pushing, because we know that we have to have to do this as soon as possible."

A story in the Albuquerque Journal, however, demonstrated that New Mexico's two senators, both Democrats, aren't ready to report for action on the immigration front.

The Journal's Michael Coleman reported: "The president can try to make it happen, but his push is likely to meet stiff resistance in the form of political inertia on Capitol Hill, according to a couple of candid-speaking U.S. senators from New Mexico."

Coleman continued: "Sens. Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall said last week there is little appetite among lawmakers for what promises to be a grueling election-year immigration debate. Not after health care, not when Democrats are on the ropes politically, and most importantly, not when unemployment remains at nearly 10 percent."

There seems to be a growing sense on Capitol Hill that the best chance for a vote this year would be during the lame duck session that will follow the November election. That would save Democrats from campaign-season pressure. The thinking is that Democrats who get wiped out in what is expected to be a tough election for the president's party would be willing to vote for the reform before leaving office.


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