With Health Care Bill Looking Shaky, What’s Left for Immigration Reform?

Senator-elect Scott Brown. (Photo: State Senator Scott Brown/Flickr)

Senator-elect Scott Brown. (Photo: State Senator Scott Brown/Flickr)

Republican Scott Brown’s victory in the Massachusetts senate race is widely seen as a major blow to President Barack Obama’s hope of passing health care reform. Does this mean immigration reform –which has taken a back seat to health care since Obama took office a year ago— is dead?

Some activists who want to see it dead were celebrating after Brown won Tuesday’s special election. And some neutral observers were predicting its demise.

Immigration reform is probably a goner,” wrote Martin Kady II on Politico.

“…this historic win may destroy the chances of amnesty for illegal aliens passing in 2010,” said Americans for Legal Immigration (ALIPAC).

“The Brown victory not only breaks the Democratic 60-vote hold on the U.S. Senate needed for cloture votes, but it sends a clear message that voters prefer pro-enforcement candidates instead of pro-amnesty candidates.” said William Gheen, president of ALIPAC. “We will be working hard to defeat the Amnesty legislation filed in Congress and to repeat the Brown-Coakley scenario in hundreds of races this November.”

Pro-Enforcement, Anti-Amnesty Candidate Wins in Massachusetts,” read a headline on Right Side News.

“Brown has stated on his campaign website that the nation needs to better secure its borders and use a national workplace verification system to ensure that jobs go to American workers. He also opposes rewards to illegal aliens like driver’s licenses and in-state tuition.”

[ See Brown’s campaign website ]

Some pro-reform activists tried to look at the bright side, according to IrishCentral’s Kelly Fincham:

Activists for the undocumented Irish were in poor spirits Wednesday in the wake of Republican Scott Brown‘s victory in Massachusetts.

However, as the polls closed last night, a seasoned immigration campaigner told me that immigration reform was by no means dead.

“We always knew we would need support from both sides of the Senate,” she said.

Progressive blogger Markos Moulitsas even proposed that immigration reform could be a winning card for the governing party:

“The issue is popular, the policy is sound and Democrats can seize the opportunity to deliver on at least one major campaign promise,” he wrote on The Hill.

But Jennifer Duffy, a nonpartisan analyst interviewed by The Wall Street Journal, noted that while the immigration overhaul proposal may not be dead yet, any bill would be “an uphill push” this election year.

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