LatinaLista — When the “official” immigration reform bill finally gets drafted and subjected to congressional debate, the expectation in Latino communities is that it will be a loud and boisterous fight but key elements will be approved in some form — notably The DREAM Act and the fate of 12 million people.
Yet, if today’ actions are any indication, it’s clear that there will be “trade-offs” to getting the key elements of immigration reform passed.
Trade-offs are nothing new and in politics are to be expected but when there are so many overlapping elements that comprise immigration reform, with people working on separate agendas towards the same goal, it makes it harder to accept certain elements being sacrificed for others.
That’s what happened today when an amendment sponsored by Senator DeMint to the Department of Homeland Security’s appropriations bill requiring another 700 miles of border wall to be built by 2010 was passed.
Among the Senators who voted for it were some of the staunchest supporters of comprehensive immigration reform.
As if 700 miles wasn’t long enough, another amendment was introduced by Senator Kyl (R-AZ) calling for funds to build “not fewer than 330 miles of at least double layer fencing.”
Though countless articles and documentaries have been published/created in the last two years illustrating the needlessness of the fence and the adverse affect of it on those border communities and families who lie in its path, it seems this is a major trade-off that 21 Democratic Senators were willing to make.
Some of the Democratic Senators who voted for the fence were Bayh (D-IN); Feinstein (D-CA); Rockefeller (D-WV); Schumer (D-NY); and Specter (D-PA).
However, there is one last hope — President Obama.
Does he dare veto the bill and risk a negative backlash that could foreseeably stall the CIR debate in Congress when he has pledged to have it addressed this year?
Or does he do the politically prudent thing and sign it trusting that this concession will pave the way for passage of the rest of the elements to be included in any CIR bill?
Either way, one side will not be happy, but one side also has the power to make 12 million lives more difficult in prolonging their shadowy existence.
Unfortunately, it’s not hard to see in which direction the pen is leaning.