Obama: Immigration Reform Not Happening Until Next Year
A comprehensive immigration reform bill might be drafted by the end of this year, but President Obama said in Mexico today that he would not expect anything to pass until 2010, according to The Hill.
Immigration reform has never been at the top of the president’s agenda, although he’s said he supports it, but today he made clear that health care reform comes first. (Meanwhile, some immigration restrictionists are using the immigration debate to argue against health care reform, saying we’d just be paying to provide services to a bunch of illegal immigrants.)
Putting the immigration debate off until next year could put the whole effort at risk, though, given that it’s a hot-button issue — particularly in border states — and that 2010 is an election year.
As Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) said in June — before he announced on Friday that he would resign from the Senate — “This is the kind of issue that in an election year becomes very, very difficult.”
In the meantime, Obama and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano have been expanding controversial programs to allow local police to enforce federal immigration laws and preparing for the deportation of tens of thousands more illegal immigrants next year.