Tuesday, November 21, 2006


The following is an excerpt from Marc Cooper's article WILL A NEW CONGRESS CONFRONT REAL IMMIGRATION REFORM?:

Earlier this year, a common sense and comprehensive immigration reform measure supported by Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., by business interests and at least a sizable chunk of organized labor, won approval in the GOP-controlled Senate. The legislation received at least some support from the White House, and the Senate leadership compromised with Democrats to push the measure through. Not only would border security have been strengthened, but also a guest worker program would have provided legal entry for hundreds of thousands of migrants.

And most important, a long period of national denial would have come to an end with the earned legalization of millions of undocumented workers. But the more ideological leadership in the House blocked the bipartisan reform, mocking it as ``amnesty'' for lawbreakers. Instead, they settled only for more troops along the border and a 700-mile-long wall...

In any scenario, eventual passage of a sweeping reform bill will require a measure of political courage and risk-taking that has been sorely absent from Washington in recent years. The question is whether or not the realities of immigration will finally force decisive action. Once the near-exclusive realm of human rights and Latino advocacy groups, liberalized immigration reform has now become a top priority not only for powerful unions like the SEIU but also for the American business community. Corporate America -- not traditionally seen as the champion of the downtrodden and hungry -- now believes that its very future is staked on access to a growing, young and hard-working immigrant workforce.

We're about to see if any of the pragmatism of the business lobby will be transmitted to the liberals now taking control of Congress. It would be a great historical irony if the new majority Democrats found themselves to the political right of the Chamber of Commerce in confronting one our most pressing national problems...

For a link to the full article, click here.

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