The Hill reports that Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) indicated this afternoon that he is “meeting with all different kinds of groups” to get input on the immigration reform bill that he is currently drafting with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), including former CNN news anchor Lou Dobbs:
Senate Democrats have reached out to former CNN anchor and prominent illegal-immigration opponent Lou Dobbs in an effort to build broad bipartisan support for immigration reform…Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who is spearheading the Democrats’ effort to put together a comprehensive reform bill, met with Dobbs on Wednesday. Winning the support of Dobbs, who became a prominent critic of illegal immigration and proposals to grant amnesty to illegal workers, could provide a significant boost to reform efforts…Schumer noted that Dobbs, who left CNN in November, is “changing his views on immigration.”
Schumer most likely met with “Mr. Independent” in an effort to use Dobbs’ appeal to attract more supporters from the center and center-right of politics. However, that strategy could backfire. To begin with, the majority of independents already support comprehensive immigration reform. Also, many of Dobbs’ most loyal supporters are right wingers who abandoned him as soon as he turned away from the hardline approach to immigration he advocated on CNN. And while a self-described “wiser Lou Dobbs” who favors an earned path to legalization for undocumented immigrants has emerged since he left CNN, the Latino and immigrant community is still largely skeptical about his change of heart. Many Latinos and immigrants are already disappointed by President Obama’s passing mention of immigration reform in last night’s State of the Union address.