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An Immigration Bill This Year? Don't Bet on It

By Ben Pershing
With President Obama on an historic foreign trip, a Supreme Court nomination pending and massive health care and climate change bills both percolating on Capitol Hill, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) managed to make news on a completely separate front yesterday -- immigration.

At a press conference with Hispanic leaders to tout Sonia Sotomayor's Supreme Court candidacy, Reid said a comprehensive immigration bill is "going to happen this session, but I want it this year, if at all possible." Reid called it one of his three top priorities this year, along with health care and energy.

The Nevadan's comments certainly delivered headlines. Politico: "Harry Reid wants immigration bill this year." Dow Jones Newswire: "Reid Says Will Fight For Immigration Reform This Year." The Hill (atop the front page): "Immigration is added atop heavy agenda."

Appearing alongside a group of leaders for whom immigration is a top priority, Reid probably got exactly the coverage he wanted. But headlines aside, is immigration reform really likely to hit the Senate floor this year? No.

First, consider everything else the chamber has on its plate. This week, Reid himself ran through the crowded schedule on the Senate floor. Before the July 4th recess, the Senate hopes to pass a tobacco regulation bill and the supplemental spending measure conference report. After that break, the chamber returns for five weeks until the August recess. During that work period, Reid said, "We have appropriations bills we want to work on. We have health care that will likely be worked on during that period of time. We have the DOD authorization, which is extremely important." He added that the chamber would work and have votes Monday-Friday during that "very long, hard work period."

After August, all the Senate has to do is keep moving all of the appropriations bills and work on both health care and energy, both of which will take up siginificant time. And of course there is the Sotomayor nomination, which will suck up much of the political oxygen whenever it finally gets votes in committee and on the floor. With so much already on the agenda, it's hard to see how and when the Senate could devote itself to immigration, which proved to be incredibly difficult and contentious in the last Congress and wouldn't be any easier this time around.

Look again at Reid's comments yesterday. He said he'd like to do immigration this year "if at all possible." Doesn't sound like the firmest of commitments. And more importantly, the White House seems in no rush to move a measure in 2009 either. Back in April, the New York Times got attention for reporting on a new immigration push by the administration. But the story just said that Obama "plans to begin addressing the country's immigration system this year." Not that he plans to sign a bill this year, only that he'll "begin addressing" it. The White House is scheduled to host a big immigation meeting June 17 (postponed from June 8), but as an administration spokesman told Roll Call, "The meeting is intended to launch a policy conversation, with the hope of beginning the debate in earnest later this year."

It's only June, so if both the president and the Senate Majority Leader are already unwilling to say immigration will move this year, it won't move this year.

UPDATE 4:10 PM ET: Reid spokesman Jim Manley said today that he believed an immigration bill could actually pass the Senate this year, though he acknowledged the calendar was tight. "It's an ambitious schedule, but it's doable with a little bit of cooperation" from Republicans, he said.

By Ben Pershing  |  June 5, 2009; 3:47 PM ET
Categories:  Agenda , Dem. Leaders , Senate  
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Consider that all is not going well...
dems feel they may lose this and next years elections...
so dems think adding latinos to the dem ranks will help them get elected and if they make enough latinos citizens, they won't have to worry about dems that will vote against them...

Posted by: DwightCollins | June 5, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Harry Reid is nothing if not a complete idiot. Immigration (from his viewpoint) = amnesty.

I don't care whether Obama won or not. Amnesty for illegals, with so many American CITIZENS out of work is a TOXIC subject. I'm sure Valerie Jarrett or Rahm will call Harry and tell him to "cool it."

Posted by: Curmudgeon10 | June 5, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

The truth is the unfortunately that all this type of comments they are pure racism. Politics, saying that is not racism, whatever, that is pure hypocrisy. It's incredible just because Sotomayor is a latin woman, they come up with a bunch of crap. America is the greatest nation on Earth, but also the greatest racist in the world. It is a racist comment say or calling these people of "These". These illegal whatever, these, these these these, like they're animal or not human beings. Shame on all of you. I hope these bill pass legalizing the 12 million immigrants, so they can work hard, bring money to this economy, paying taxes, straighting up their lives to show that an immigrant has 4 times a probability to be successful than an american( that's a shame, but truth). They are scared of immigrant to be more successful than anybody. I love this country. But the way that it has been dealt with immigration reform, is very unamerican.

Posted by: JR10 | June 5, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

NO amnesty! We saw what happened in the 1980s with the amnesty and now it is even worse. Why don't some of these amnesty-crazed-individuals sneak into Mexico and see what they get for a reward?

Posted by: Utahreb | June 5, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Reid, Schumer etc. All master lobbyists for Mexico.

"Mercy to the guilty is cruelty to the innocent." - Adam Smith, economist and ethicist

Everything you need to know about immigration and what to do about it humorously told.

(Roy Beck and NumbersUSA are the "gumball" heroes)

Posted by: wandagb | June 5, 2009 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Amnesty will be a REAL fight. We stopped it in 2004, we stopped it in 2006 and we stopped it 2007.
The deck is stacked against us, but just because the economy is the biggest issue, and Politicians won't talk about Illegal Immigration, they think we are not passionate about opposing Amnesty.
Wait and se when they try it, THEN they'll see there is just as much outrage, if not more in this econmy, than ever.
It's going to be a heck of a fight, but we just may win. And in 2010 and 2012, Americans are going to be so tired of the Socialist Democrats, there won't be anymore of this Amnesty crap.
And the Republican party can just sit on their dumb buttocks and win because the Dems are going to bury themselves. It's already happening.
I don't need a debate on this, time will tell, and time is on my side.
But, have at it, you'll be talking to the hand.

Posted by: robotech1 | June 5, 2009 7:06 PM | Report abuse

you people want to call me racist because i do not believe in this screwed up govt caving in to illegals? then yes, i am a racist. i think you should stay the hell in your own country,untill you go through the process to be a citizen,not crawl over the border in the dark to take jobs when our own people are having a hard time feeding their familys.
this is undoubtfully the worst administration in the history of this fast falling country.

Posted by: silusdogood | June 5, 2009 7:24 PM | Report abuse

No amnesty!

Enforce the laws that we have.

Finish the fence.

Pass e-verify.

Posted by: rlkidd58 | June 5, 2009 7:44 PM | Report abuse

From what I've heard, Reid is facing a difficult re-election bid next year. That's why the President was in Nevada a week or so ago, trying to raise $25 million for Reid's re-election campaign. Sounds like they're expecting a battle, not what one would expect for a well-liked incumbent, suggesting that Reid is not one.

Posted by: Ali4 | June 5, 2009 7:45 PM | Report abuse

JR 10 wrote:" It's incredible just because Sotomayor is a latin woman, they come up with a bunch of crap. America is the greatest nation on Earth, but also the greatest racist in the world. It is a racist comment say or calling these people of "These". These illegal whatever, these, these these these, like they're animal or not human beings. Shame on all of you. I hope these bill pass legalizing the 12 million immigrants, so they can work hard, bring money to this economy, paying taxes, straighting up their lives to show that an immigrant has 4 times a probability to be successful than an american( that's a shame, but truth). They are scared of immigrant to be more successful than anybody. I love this country. But the way that it has been dealt with immigration reform, is very unamerican."
Greatest "racist" in the world? Hardly.
Let's see. Why is it that it is the White/European elites who control most of the wealth and have most of the power in LATIN AMERICA? (Even though Mexico has the 13th or 14th biggest GDP in the world, most of its population lives in poverty.) Look at Africa, with its racial cleansing in Darfur. No "whites" involved, except to try to clean up after. Then there's INDIA, with discrimination on both caste (even though it's supposedly illegal) as well as religion. Fact is, we're RANK AMATEURS compared to most of the world. Given our diversity, with residents from literally every country in the world, it's surprising that we don't have more difficulties. Any country, in fact, that doesn't have problems with racism is probably a country that doesn't allow immigration in significant numbers--and that in itself is a form of discrimination.

The 12 million illegal aliens you refer to as "immigrants" will generally NOT "bring money" to this economy or be NET payers of taxes for the simple reason that most of them are uneducated and unskilled. Even if legalized, there are so many of them that employers have no reason to raise wages. Much the same situation as in their homelands, in fact--too mamy people competing for too few jobs. Even WORKING, these people are among the working poor and still would be if legalized, only then they'd be able to access more welfare and social services than they can now. It's no accident that the rate of poverty among Hispanics rose after the 1986 amnesty and that the rate of Hispanic children living in poverty is increasing substantially. Now, who do you suppose would end up paying the tab for these hard working but still poor illegal aliens? American taxpayers. So, no, you will not see a general amnesty any time soon. Unemployment's expected to rise into next year and social services/pantries and state services are already overwhelmed. What happens when illegal aliens not only don't have jobs, but can't pay rent and can't get food from pantries?

Posted by: Ali4 | June 5, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Immigration reform is to the early 21st century what civil rights were to the 1950's and 1960's. Then the struggle was about giving equal rights to African-Americans, and the bigots and white supremacists were against it. Now the struggle is about doing the same for Latinos and Asians, and the bigots and white supremacists are still against it.

Yes, immigration reform does involve "amnesty", just as civil rights involved busing and, yes, at least for a while, quotas. These were and are symbols of race. The anti-Latino and Asian hatred of the anti-"amnesty" crowd is no different from that of the racists who were sporting "impeach Earl Warren" bumper stickers back in the 1950's after his historic Supreme Court decision ending legal school segregation.

I am old enough to remember the reaction to that 1954 decision. The venom and hatred it provoked is no different from that of some of the anti-immigration comments on this site and of similar racist rants by bigots in both parties throughout America.

Posted by: algasema | June 5, 2009 8:26 PM | Report abuse

i almost feel sorry for those of you who just dont get it. the illegals hurt the economy in so many ways other than just taking jobs illegaly,being here illegaly,and not paying taxes,the money they dont drink up,they send back to mexico,and soon this country will look like the piece of crap they turned that country into,and if they are so great,and you love them so much,why dont you go with them? then you will see,as i saw when i went there,what a great place they made out of their country,and are trying to make the u s like it. by the way,when you go,please take nancy piglosi with you.

Posted by: silusdogood | June 5, 2009 11:34 PM | Report abuse

This is all about political power, if the illegals weren't voting now, thy could care less about them, thy are here illegal and thy vote for the Democratic Party who made it possible with the motor voter act. It's the U.S. citizen rights that are being taken away and given to a foreign national. Paid for by you, to the tune of millions of dollars to Acorn and La Raza to void your vote. If the millions illegals, and dead people votes weren't counted, Obama would not be president and have a Democrat majority in Congress. Freedom or tyranny, perhaps you still have a choice.

Posted by: xthat | June 6, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

US is a country made up of immigrants and if we cannot enforce certain rules and regulations we will have nobody else but ourselves to blame.

Posted by: mrmunna | June 6, 2009 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Immigration reform is what is needed at this very crucial moment.
I would invite everyone who posts comments to make it from a personal "I statement" position. Do not generalize your comments, based on personal feelings because it's detrimental to the subject.
Case in point: "NO amnesty! We saw what happened in the 1980s with the amnesty and now it is even worse. Why don't some of these amnesty-crazed-individuals sneak into Mexico and see what they get for a reward?

We saw what happened, who exactly is we?? And no, I don't saw what happened in the 80's. I know there was a short sighted attempt to solve the immigration problem. I know it brought many people out of the shadows, but still did not give many equal access to power.

These amnesty-craze-individuals?? Hardly, I simply want a just society, and world if possible. I do not de-humanize anyone, even people in power. I know they could share the power and opportunities, but chose to do it otherwise.

There are about 300 thousand Americans living in Mexico. What they got? Well, a more inviting, friendly and society.

If I like it so much why don't I go back. Simply because I do not want or chose to.

I would invite all anti-immigration bigots to get in touch with their feelings before posting an anger-filled comment.

We are here because this is "The land of opportunity" Should I spelled it out for all of you?
I think the source of "your" anger is that "you" all have not seized that opportunity. But this is not because of immigrants, it's called character. Either you have it or you don't.

comprehensive Immigration Reform NOW!

Posted by: tekila37 | June 7, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

algasema wrote:"Immigration reform is to the early 21st century what civil rights were to the 1950's and 1960's. Then the struggle was about giving equal rights to African-Americans, and the bigots and white supremacists were against it. Now the struggle is about doing the same for Latinos and Asians, and the bigots and white supremacists are still against it."
There is NO RIGHT for anyone other than a U.S. citizen to live in this country. There is NO RIGHT to immigrate to it, legally much less illegally. CIVIL RIGHTS are rights belonging to CITIZENS of a country. We extend certain "human rights" such as free speech to literally anyone who comes here but we DO NOT EXTEND THE RIGHT FOR EVERYONE TO COME HERE OR REMAIN HERE. Illegal aliens HAVE NO CIVIL RIGHTS HERE. If they want them, they should go back to the countries where they are citizens and insist on their legitimate civil rights THERE.

Posted by: Ali4 | June 7, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Gee, didn't Emperor Harry get the message a while back when an outraged citizenry - that's right - the CITIZENS of this sovereign Nation! - shut down the Senate switchboard? What part of "illegal" does he fail to understand? I hope he goes on making a fool of himself so the voters in Nevada finally wise up and kick his worthless butt to the curb. He won't mind too much, though, 'cuz as a retired hack he'll be on the taxpayer's nickel for the rest of his life. Not so Joe Sixpack with a family to support, who just lost a job paying $20/hr - barely enough to live on these days! - to an illegal alien working for half that.

Posted by: vivalamigra | June 7, 2009 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Look, let's put a stop to this nonsense about opposition to amnesty being "racist," shall we? Illegal is illegal. I don't care if you're from Dublin with green eyes and red hair, or from Sweden with blue eyes and blond hair, or from Mexico with dark eyes and olive skin. If you don't have a green card or visa and aren't a citizen, then you're ILLEGALLY present and that makes ILLEGAL ALIEN! You are breaking the law just by being here in contravention of US law, and you're probably breaking lots of other laws to stay here. Let's enforce the law equally and send ALL illegals HOME. Those who can qualify for LAWFUL ENTRY are welcome to return. Those who can't...well..nobody ever said Life was "fair" so make the best of it in your homeland. You just might improve things for your countrymen and future generations which is what true PATRIOTS of any nation are obligated to do.

Posted by: vivalamigra | June 7, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

the politicians are getting bolder by the day,with the aid of our socialistic president,and his chicago thugs,holder and emanuel.
they think they cant be taken down,but they are pushing reasons for impeachment. they will screw up.

Posted by: silusdogood | June 7, 2009 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Wow! algasema, tekila37, and JR10, just don't get it, do they? They haven't learned that calling those who oppose amnesty and open borders "racists" in the hope of shutting them up just doesn't work anymore. They also aren't aware that in 2006, ICE deported people back to 189 different countries. Don't they know that 189 different countries means every race, ethnicity and religion there is? Apparently they don't know this and that's why they scream "racism" and make laughingstocks out of themselves.

algasema---"Civil Rights" for illegals? How dare you compare the struggle that blacks and Americans of Hispanic descent endured went through to be treated equally to what illegals are supposedly are going through? First of all, the Civil Rights movement was for American citizens---many who fought for their country during the wars. They put their lives on the line only to come home to a country that treated them poorly in so many ways. Every sane American wanted to rectify this situation.

Illegals were never invited here and have no business being here---no matter what their circumstances were in their native countries. For them to then demand supposed "civil rights" while breaking our immigration laws is the height of arrogance. The only thing illegals are entitled to is a trip back to their home countries.

Harry Reid is a vile POS traitor who is putting illegal aliens ahead of his American citizen constituents. Nevada has one of the highest foreclosure and umemployment rates in this country. In Reno, there is a tent city filled with American citizens who have lost their jobs and homes. Yet illegals had the gall to throw a tantrum on the LV strip recently and demand amnesty. It is believed that those illegals were all employed in the hotels and restaurants. Yet Harry Reid fought to kill E-Verify as part of the stimulus package. It's long past time for Nevada voters to wake up and realize that Reid is taking them for chumps and s**tting on them!

Posted by: two4three2 | June 7, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Amnesty for illegal aliens? Why do we have to reward illegal aliens? People who don't respect our immigration laws. We already have immigration laws. Too many legal immigrants enter the United States each year. That is enough. That is why we don't need new laws. In terms of those illegals already in this country, they have to leave. They do not obey our immigration laws. Let's say a person robbed a bank or banks, just because that person needed money to pay for his/her necessities, we will create a new law for him/her to avoid going to jail. No. By the same token, people who do not respect our immigration laws must leave our country. They do not deserve amnesty. Barack Obama, listen to US citizens, we do not want amnesty.

Posted by: post2009 | June 8, 2009 7:09 AM | Report abuse

There should be no amnesty. All it will accomplish, besides putting the Democrats in power for the next 40 years, is to bring millions more illegally to this country.

Just look at what happened last time.

We are a nation of laws- illegals should be deported.

Posted by: bh150243 | June 8, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

When the American's came to this country they too were illegals. How quick we are to judge illegal aliens.. When they come to this country they don't come to kill innocent men, women and children, burn their villages and take over their lands for all the riches we have exploited it and benefited from. What is it exactly that we celebrate on thanksgiving? And who exactly were we celebrating it with? Indians that we eventually killed for their generousity. We are all immigrants and we all have same alienable rights. Mexicans, hispanics have always contributed to this country whether anyone wants to acknowledge it or not. Taxes. This country taxes all of us every single day of our lives. 24 Hours a day. White, black and hispanics. How? The heat we use to warm us on cold days have taxes on top of sur-charge taxes. The water we use, utilities companies tax us on it . Look at your bill. The telephone companies rob us every single day. With funny taxes that I don't understand. Everybody has telephone service. Even illegals. Clothing,gas, food, income so forth and so forth. Everything has taxes and surcharge taxes. YES ILLEGALS CONTRIBUTE TO THIS ECONOMY EVERY DAY OF THEIR LIVES IN AMERICA. WITHOUT THEM CONTRIBUTING INTO THE SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM THAT THEY WILL NEVER COLLECT, IF THEY DO NOT LEGALIZE, YOUR MOTHER, FATHER AUNT. UNCLE WILL NOT GET THEIR SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS. Long ago, this government was calculating that the system was going bankrupt but because we have had social security taxes taken from illegal aliens it has prevented the system and saved the benefits. Stop and look in the mirror and see if perhaps you can't find it your heart to embrace, respect and accept that this is the land of opportunity and that we all have the same rights.

Posted by: bertha530 | June 8, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

reid,pelosi and barack hussein are low life traitors who should be ridden out of washington on a rail,or with a rail stuck up their tails. lots of people are in this country illegaly,and they are not all from mexico. to grant amnesty for one,they all,will be our neighbors,and we all had better post a guard.
time to go back to basics america. remember the 4 th of july is independance day,for those of you who have enough guts to take a stand with the rest of us,and say enough.we will not have tyranny in our govt. we will have a say,and we will not have another hugo chavez. he is barack husseins hero by the way. look for tea partys,all over america on the 4 th,we will be black,we will be white,we will be americans first and formost.

Posted by: silusdogood | June 8, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Does Bertha530 believe that EVERYONE who wants to live in the US should be allowed to do so?

I don't get the open borders crowd. Don't they think it will get a little crowded? Won't highways get even more congested? Won't water and open land become even more scarce? Won't the healthcare system crash as it's flooded with immigrants who have received poor healthcare-or none-all their lives? What about our already floundering public education system? How can it handle millions of non-English speaking students with parents who have little education?

What about those who would like to harm us? Let them in also?

Posted by: bh150243 | June 9, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

if people like BERTHA,werent harmfull to the country i love, i could almost feel sorry for her. if she cant see that the state of california is broke because morons like arnold insists on continuing paying for everything including day care for illegals so they can work there illegally. the country will bail out the welfare state,and we all will head down that same road,thanks to people like obama,ried,piglosi,and bertha.

Posted by: silusdogood | June 9, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

by the way,june,bertha,and a few others who just dont get it,we who have a little common sense,are tired of your racist remarkes. i have friends in the landscape business who are desendants of mexico and they are good friends,even though we are competitors,we sit and talk,we get along like family. also, friends who are black americans,who come all the way from south carolina to spend thee weekend at my house when they can get away,and even tell people we are brothers. we love to joke around,but we are in total agreement that the only reason the race card is brought out,is when things dont go the way racist on the other side dont get their way,or dont get what they want,and people like rev.wright,jessie jackson,al sharpton,all make money,keeping the race crap stirred up.
most black americans are starting to realize this,because they have good sense,and fewer of them are buying into the crap.
did you notice that not once did i call any of these my brothers names like AFRICAN americans? or MEXICAN americans????? that is because they are not africans,they are not mexicans,.....they are AMERICANS first and foremost,AMERICANS.LEGAL americans... still cant figure it out???????????????
the leftist are democrats who want to exploit these my fellow americans,and i would remind you,that the truth remains that the fools who made up the 85 percent of the kkk were indeed democrats,just look at george wallace,who almost made it to the white house.
and the truth shall make you free. the obama administration are black,but they do not represent the black americans,they are socialist with an agenda,of turning this country into a communist state.
watch the tea partys on the forth of july,or better still,wake up,and join us all who love our freedom,and lets all stand side by side,and say enough. stop spending,stop with socialized med that will be the death of a lot of americans,stop with the amnesty crap,inforce the laws,and identify voters who are not citizens,arrest,and deport them,and make this a country we can ALL be proud of.

Posted by: silusdogood | June 9, 2009 10:26 PM | Report abuse

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