Immigration reform is becoming a higher priority for Congress – at least for the Democrats – because of the new Arizona law that gives police in Arizona the right to question any person who the police suspect may be in the U.S. illegally. The national attention from the Arizona law and the concern about the Democrats’ prospects in the November election is causing the Obama administration and congressional Democrats to make immigration reform a priority this year – perhaps even introducing a bill before Memorial Day weekend.
The prospects of any federal immigration reform passing before the election are slim. Yet that may not be the sole purpose of immigration legislation. The Obama administration and Democrats are hopeful that the move on immigration will please their political base and help salvage some of their votes in the November election. But pushing it this year may also mean the death of CIR for several years to come. If immigration reform is voted on this year and then fails, it will make it more difficult to revisit the same issue next year, but may clear the way for other employment-based legislation to be offered by piecemeal next year.