By Diego Graglia, FI2W web editor
Since the Obama Administration took office, immigration reform has seemed to go forward in fits and starts. The White House’s cautious approach has led pro-immigration advocates to cherish every bit of reassuring news they can find.
One source for this type of news has been Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D.-Nev.), who late last year started speaking in favor of reforming the nation’s immigration laws. Last Thursday, at a time when the nation’s pundits were preoccupied with several other topics, Reid raised the issue once more: he said comprehensive immigration reform is “going to happen this session, but I want it this year, if at all possible,” according to The Washington Post.
The Post‘s Ben Pershing added that Reid called immigration reform “one of his three top priorities this year, along with health care and energy.”
Reid’s comments appear aimed at maintaining the support of Hispanic voters, since he will need them next year, when he is up for reelection. Nevada is one of the states in which Latino votes played a pivotal role in the Obama’s victory last fall.
“(W)hile Nevada broke for President-elect Barack Obama by 12 percentage points in November, the state voted for President George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004,” said a story in The Wall Street Journal in December, when Reid was already working on his campaign.
The WSJ article said Reid could face a tough battle to keep his seat, citing low approval ratings and calling him “perhaps the most vulnerable Democrat who will face reelection” in the mid-term vote.
On Thursday –La Opinión reported– Reid said an immigration reform bill “must be comprehensive and include more border security, worker programs –not only focused on agriculture– and measures for people who do not have documents today to legalize their situation”.
The Los Angeles Spanish-language newspaper also said other legislators are actively pushing for reform. Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D.-Ill.) and Sen. Bob Menéndez (D.-N.J.) held a forum with activists of the Reform Immigration For America campaign in Washington last week.
These efforts will lead up to a meeting the White House will host on June 17 with lawmakers and activists to discuss immigration reform.