With the midterm elections finally behind us, foreign nationals, immigration advocates, and the country at large are now wondering what the election results mean for comprehensive immigration reform. Since Tuesday night and Wednesday morning saw the loss of many Democratic seats to Republicans, many are worried that immigration reform will not be given to the nation, as promised by the President for several months.
The President’s Conversations with Republicans
In the wake of the elections, the media is already reporting that relations between the President and the House Republicans are markedly cool and do not signal much hope for a quick return to passing comprehensive immigration reform. The President has repeatedly stated that it is his intent to utilize whatever powers are available to him in order to enact changes to the immigration system. Political pundits report that the President is likely referring to his power to issue executive orders in what critics describe as the President sidestepping Congress in order to effectively pass his own laws.
Such statements seem to have ignited anger in the Republican party, with Senator Mitch McConnell (Republican from Kentucky) stating that issuing such an executive order would be a grave mistake, and House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner (Republican from Ohio) telling the press that the President may get “burned” if he insists on “playing with matches.”
What Does Congress Look Like After the Elections?
While these opening conversations between the President and the Republicans are not cause for much enthusiasm, the political makeup of Congress did not change so much after the election to guarantee Republicans get to run the entire immigration show. Although the Republicans did regain control of the Senate, the seats they took from Democrats did not come anywhere near the amount needed to have a supermajority.
Additionally, the fact that the Republicans gained many seats may actually force them into passing comprehensive reform whether they want to or not. If the Republicans continue to shut down or derail every proposed immigration bill, they will no longer be able to claim that they are in the minority and simply doing so to protect their interests. Instead, they will need to answer to the American public as to why they are effectively shutting down legislative progress.
How Much Longer Will Immigrants Have to Wait?
Unfortunately, although the President pledged to move forward on immigration legislation after the midterm elections concluded, he wasn’t exactly clear on precisely how long the country would wait until the next step in the reform process was taken. It could be December 2014, or it could be April 2015. What is certain is that immigrants, American businesses, and the U.S. economy will not benefit from further delay on this critical issue.
It looks as though the country will continue to wait for the much-needed and long-anticipated immigration reform. Hopefully, with the midterm elections behind it, Congress can also put behind it any old prejudices and move forward on passing legislation that will improve the national economy and workforce. Continue to check with our blog for the most up to date immigration news.
Additional Blog Posts
Immigration Judges Request Separation from the Department of Justice, ImmigRantings, August 19, 2013
Congress Attempts to Implement Measures to Protect Immigrants from Notarios, ImmigRantings, September 27, 2013