The President met with Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), yesterday, two Senators who are leading the effort to introduce an immigration bill in the Senate. The President also had two other meetings on immigration yesterday: one with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and another with a group of pro-reform advocates including national ethnic groups, civil rights groups, and immigrant advocacy groups.
The meetings show immigration is still a priority for the President and others, but the likelihood of comprehensive immigration reform being passed this year is slim. There are several factors weighing against it: (1) healthcare reform has not been passed, and is a significant priority for the President; (2) we are less than 7 months away from the mid-term elections and Congress is cautious of its stance on controversial issues; (3) the economy is still sluggish and unemployment rate is high, which makes any legislation about peripheral issues less of a priority; (4) a “legalization” program is difficult to grasp during a recession; and (5) comprehensive immigration reform perhaps has too many issues to agree on, as it tries to cover legal immigration and illegal immigration in a full swoop.
Consequently, immigrants should not rely on legislative fixes for this year. Instead, immigrants and companies who employ them should plan based upon the current system.