Immigration bill may finally get jump-start
By Frank Davies
San Jose Mercury News
Article Launched: 03/12/2007 01:36:57 AM PDT
WASHINGTON - After years of debate and deadlock, Congress seems to have all the ingredients this year to revamp a broken immigration system and devise a way to handle up to 12 million undocumented immigrants while tightening border security.
Advocates of reform can point to new Democratic leaders who have promised action, the support of President Bush, the failure of hard-line anti-immigration appeals in the past election, and a large coalition of business, labor, church and rights groups ready to turn up the pressure again.
"This is a rare time when the politics are right for both parties to act," said Rep. Zoe Lofgren, the San Jose Democrat who chairs the House immigration subcommittee. "The expectation is that Democrats, in power, will get something done, and we have to do that. And if most Republicans block this again, they will put themselves in political peril."
But don't expect a comprehensive immigration bill to be on Bush's desk soon. Formidable obstacles remain, including the emotional, unpredictable nature of immigration politics and the pressure of an early presidential campaign.
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