LatinaLista — The assertions over the weekend by Nevada’s Sen. Reid and Illinois’ Sen. Durbin that Congress would start working on an immigration reform bill sooner rather than later was welcome news to everyone who has doubted the Democratic Party’s commitment to immigration reform.
Yet, while the words of each senator are encouraging, they remain nothing more than palabras unless enough Republican senators can be convinced into supporting the Schumer/Graham bill.
Sen. Reid speaks to an enthusiastic immigration reform rally in Las Vegas. (Photo: Isaac Brekken for The New York Times)
The realization that the Senate’s goal in introducing immigration reform is to get bipartisan support is lost on advocates who saw the Democrats and the President champion healthcare without one GOP vote.
Why can’t the same be done for comprehensive immigration reform (CIR)?
As more time passes and more GOP congressmen tow the party line of non-cooperation with the administration, it becomes clear that no GOP senator has the courage to sign their name onto a bill that their party vehemently opposes.
So what is left to be done but for the Democrats to champion a politically unpopular bill?
Does it spell the end of some political careers, or worse does it spell the end of the Democratic Party?
If Democrats championed immigration reform without GOP support, it might be true that some Democrats lose their seats in those regions where anti-Hispanic sentiment borders on extremism lunacy.
And those Democrats could be proud that they stood up to such extremists who would try and vilify a whole population just because of their racist attitudes. Those Democrats may lose their seats, if those extremists wield that much power, but to end a political career with a vote that helped make this country stronger economically, reinforced the nation’s security and reestablished the nation’s commitment to families would be a noble vote on which to end any political career.
In those districts where the Latino population outnumbers these critics, mobilization of Latino support of those politicians who support CIR has already begun. As marches are still being planned, so are the lists of who and who does not support CIR.
For those Latinos for whom CIR is not a personal issue, it has been made personal by the blanket insults and innuendos lobbed by racist members of the Tea Party movement and those politicians who have found the GOP platform a handy vehicle to spread their own archaic and racist beliefs.
Latino voters will be united in a way that the GOP has not contemplated nor have Latino voters even imagined but if the Democrats champion CIR, Latinos voters will come out in November like it’s the 2008 presidential campaign all over again.
It’s not a prediction — it’s just the writing on the wall.