An item in yesterday’s Congress Daily said that Nancy Pelosi “told the Asian American and Pacific Islander Summit this morning that Congress would tackle immigration reform after finishing with health care and energy.” CD opined that “it seems unlikely that Congress could work through all three mega-issues this year” but Pelosi didn’t say that. Harry Reid, meanwhile, explicitly said he thought immigration could be done this year:
“As far as I’m concerned, we have three major issues we have to do this year, if at all possible: No. 1 is healthcare; No 2 is energy, global warming; No. 3 is immigration reform,” Reid said. “It’s going to happen this session, but I want it this year, if at all possible.”
Obviously, this still may not happen. But it’s good to hear. In the immediate wake of the Sonia Sotomayor announcement, you sometimes heard that now that we’re getting a Latina justice, there’s no need to do immigration reform. The reality, however, is that the presence of huge numbers of undocumented immigrants in the United States is a very real problem that needs to be confronted. Efforts to make any other kind of social policy — be it health care, higher education, labor law reform, whatever — wind up being complicated by the problem. You could try to solve the problem in an impractical and inhumane manner by deporting everyone, or you can try to find a practical way of getting law-abiding people paying taxes on put on a path to citizenship. Just trying to ignore the issue isn’t going to viable.