Immigration: One Year Later

A march through downtown Los Angeles supporting immigrant rights on May 1, 2014.

Photograph by Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

A march through downtown Los Angeles supporting immigrant rights on May 1, 2014.

It’s been a year.

A year since a widely hailed bipartisan agreement to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws cleared the Senate. A year since the House left the bill on the table.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took note of that anniversary today.

Reid, a Nevada Democrat, urged the House “to stop wasting time.”

 “It’s time for House Republicans to act,;; he told the Senate today. “Let the legislation pass in the House… What are they achieving by dragging their feet on immigration reform?”
After another bipartisan effort at a comprehensive agreement underway in the House crumbled, Republican leaders spoke of taking piecemeal approaches to the problem of border security and the millions of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio attempted to offer some guidelines for action. His party’s caucus shut him down.

President Barack Obama, who supports the Senate approach, has more recently suggested that there is a limited window this year for Congress to achieve anything on immigration. Obama is trying to rally supporters  for action during a two- to three-month window before lawmakers’ attention shifts to the midterm congressional elections in November.

“Immigration reform is for more than election-year politicking,” Reid said today.

At the same time, some say the president bears some of the responsibility for failure to act on immigration, and the prospect of any action during the remaining two years of his term — when Republicans stand a better than even chance of controlling both chambers of Congress — are slim.

“I think, if President Obama would work with Congress more often, he would get a lot more cooperation,” Haley Barbour, a former Republican National Committee chairman, governor of Mississippi and lobbyist, said yesterday in an interview with Bloomberg Television.“But generally this administration’s method of operation has been to criticize and attack the Republicans, to call them evil, to invite Paul Ryan and John Boehner to come to a presidential speech, sit in the front row and then the president spits out how terrible their budget is and how heartless they are.”


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