Senate Leader Reid Says He Can Find Enough Votes to Pass Immigration Reform

By Diego Graglia, FI2W web editor
Sen. Harry Reid - Photo:

Sen. Harry Reid - Photo:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D.-Nev.) says that even if a dozen Democratic senators decide not to back an immigration reform bill, he is “sure” the votes can come from Republicans.

Reid –who’s becoming ever more vocal about this issue — said that he was willing to put “the Democratic Party’s reputation on the line for immigration reform,” reported. His comments are being closely monitored by Spanish-language media around the country.

The leader has acknowledged that not all 59 Democratic senators may back a comprehensive reform bill. Losing 10 or 12 votes from his own ranks, he added, “would leave us at 48. But I am sure that we will find 12 Republicans. I have no doubts this will be the case.”

Sixty votes are needed in the Senate to end a filibuster.

Speculation –and concrete vote tallies– become more important as lawmakers from both parties prepare for next Wednesday’s meeting on immigration with President Barack Obama.‘s Jorge Cancino reported the White House expects the talks will lead to the introduction of a reform bill “in the fall.”

While President Obama’s approach to immigration seems extremely deliberate to many –especially those hoping for a comprehensive reform bill including the legalization of millions of undocumented people–, so far he has been following the careful path he charted during the campaign and the first weeks of his presidency. While he announced early on, in February, that he was “very committed” to passing a reform, he said work would begin this year on “a draft” proposal — stopping short of promising that a bill would become law in 2009.

While Reid seems confident he can get an immigration bill through the Senate, the House –where 218 votes are needed– is another matter, noted Antonieta Cádiz, a La Opinión reporter.

Cádiz also talked to Reid, who told her he has had several conversations on the issue with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.). “She perfectly understands how important immigration reform is,” he said.

We can’t deport 11 million undocumented people, we can’t do it physically and financially, as some would want,” Reid said in yet another interview, this time with news service Agencia EFE.

Immigration is the strength of our country, we bring waves of people to our country who excel in education and the workforce, and that’s good.

We should bring them out of the shadows so that when someone goes to buy milk for their child they’re not subject to arrest. Let’s clean the slate, let’s have a new immigration program that protects our northern and southern borders, a program that brings (these) people out of shadows and makes them more productive.

AboutDiego Graglia
Diego Graglia is a bilingual multimedia journalist who has worked at major media outlets in the U.S. and Latin America. He is currently the editor-in-chief at Expansion, Meixco’s leading business magazine.