January 1st, 2010
01:49 PM ET

Tackle immigration reform in 2010

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/01/obama.latino.town.hall.jpg caption="President Obama addresses a Latino Town Hall meeting while campaigning in 2008."]

Ruben Navarrette Jr.
Special to CNN

It's time again for New Year's resolutions, especially if Congress and the White House really plan to reopen the explosive immigration debate in 2010. Whether or not they do depends on which part of the political carnival you're looking at.

This week, the Los Angeles Times reported that the Obama administration is discreetly laying the groundwork to tackle immigration reform early next year.

According to the article, senior White House aides have privately assured Latino immigration activists that President Obama will throw his support behind legislation in Congress to provide a path to earned legalization for the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants now living in the United States.

But last week, the Capitol Hill newspaper The Hill reported that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, has been offering some private assurances of her own. Pelosi, the article says, has told fellow Democrats not to worry about having to address immigration reform until the Senate acts first.

By passing the buck to "the world's greatest deliberative body," Pelosi is probably hoping that deliberation will become dithering and delay. Then the House can duck the volatile issue altogether. It's the politics of self-preservation. Concerned that voters would react negatively to any talk of legalizing millions of illegal immigrants, Pelosi is obviously trying to preserve her job by protecting vulnerable Democrats.

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soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Mike in NYC

    This "12 million" figure magically never seems to increase, even though hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants enter the US each year. It's beyond idiotic.

    There were 12 million here by the mid-1980s. It's now at least twice that number.

    January 1, 2010 at 4:50 pm |
  2. Debi Solomon-Carter

    I am a full blooded, enrolled, tribal member of the pacific northwestern Lummi Nation, WA. I just wanted to stipulate that, and knowing what happened when there were no immigration laws, I feel a need to explain in detail my position on the Immigration Reform.

    I feel that above all else, there are rules and procedures for entering the United States and if one wants to come here then all they need do is the paperwork.

    1. Fill out the application for citizenship to OUR country,
    2. Learn to speak OUR language,
    and last but not least:
    3. Appreciate and respect OUR country.

    I am also a disabled Vietnam Woman veteran and thank all of my brothers and sisters in the fight for our way of life.

    "Love it or Leave it!!'

    January 1, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
  3. Dulcie - Denver

    I'd be overjoyed if the immigration reform debate could work the way you suggest. It'd be really lovely to see Dems and Repubs working together and finding compromise where possible. But I think the die is cast for this administration – I expect it to be as partisan, ugly and nasty as health care reform.

    The Republican party (of which I used to be a proud member) has become soulless and entirely without compassion for anyone not 'to the manor born.' Yes, I said soulless despite their pandering to the religious conservatives. Shame on them.

    January 1, 2010 at 4:17 pm |
  4. Tim Gibson

    I will agree with our nation was founded on immigrants who traveled here to start a new nation, and altough their efforts resulted in overthrowing the land and taking it from the American Indians, since then immigration has allowed for legal immigrantion, not through back door action of making law breakers legal in status. Sort of a reward for criminal activity and illegal entry into our nation is a crime no matter how you look at it.

    As to Obama himself standing behind and being an active part in any kind of reform, his track record has proven him to be nothing more than the pen man, the one who signs the actions into law, while standing in the shadows and not standing up for any issue.

    January 1, 2010 at 3:59 pm |

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