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Gutierrez Says Immigration Reform Possible After Arizona GOP Primary

There’s at least one person on Capitol Hill who doesn’t think comprehensive immigration reform is dead this year. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) said on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” program this morning that 200 House members support reform, putting the effort only 17 votes short of a majority. Of course, the Senate would have to act first — Nancy Pelosi has said the House won’t touch immigration until the Senate passes a bill, which Reid’s office said would probably not be taken up before November.

Gutierrez, chairman of Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, thinks a quicker timetable is possible — we just need to get past the Arizona Republican primary. At a House hearing this morning, Gutierrez alluded to the harm Sen. John McCain’s move rightward, prodded by his primary opponent J.D. Hayworth, has done to the debate over immigration:

Even House Republicans say we can get a bill passed in the House this year. Mario and Lincoln Diaz-Balart each stated on a conference call with reporters last week, sponsored by Conservatives for Comprehensive Reform that a bill could pass tomorrow. I think once we get past the Arizona GOP primary that sparked the recent anti-immigration reform eruption, we will have a chance of getting some of the Republicans in the Senate to also come forward and work with Democrats to get a bill passed.

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