President Obama spoke vaguely about immigration. His main point was, “We should continue the work of fixing our broken immigration system – to secure our borders, enforce our laws, and ensure that everyone who plays by the rules can contribute to our economy and enrich our nation.” Obama’s reference to immigration came about an hour into his speech, perhaps notably signaling that it is a low priority right now.
The reality is immigration reform has a low chance of being passed the first half of 2010. And many inside Washington concur that if it doesn’t get passed by Memorial Day weekend, then it will be put aside until after the November elections since most members of Congress will want to dodge the topic in the upcoming elections. Further, the results of the November elections could signal whether comprehensive immigration reform even gets reconsidered in 2011 or whether it will be 2012 until the discussions resume.
If CIR is put to rest the first half of the year, it could open the way for individual aspects of immigration (such as Schedule A relief) to get added to another bill. Of course, the economy will still play a part in convincing Congress that legislation for more visas is needed.