Wednesday, April 17, 2013
SAN DIEGO It was a historic moment.
Disparate Senators — from Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) to Charles Schumer (D-NY) — shook hands this week on a mammoth agreement that seeks a massive overhaul the nation’s broken immigration system.
A rag-tag gang of eight Senators, forging common ground on an important issue, is angling for cinematic moments even if the realities behind the bill are textbook politics.
The Latino voting bloc’s influence is only going to grow. Latinos make up the largest portion of immigrants living without legal documents in the U.S. But those with legal documents vote.
It’s a huge deal.
The proposed bill is a lighthouse, potentially guiding millions of immigrants from the shadows and into American legal status.
But it's still just a bill — surely to be met with pitchforks. And Its arrival was once again upstaged by news.
On the eve of the bill's unveiling, two pressure cooker bombs exploded into a frenzy of nails and ball bearings at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
The daily news cycle went full throttle and everything else — including the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill — got pushed aside.
The bill was available to the public one day after the planned news conference.
The proposal that has been widely talked about since Thanksgiving was released clumsily after 2 a.m. — all 844 pages of it.
This isn't the first time immigration has been overshadowed by larger issues.
In 2008, as presidential candidate, Barack Obama promised to push comprehensive immigration reform during his first year in the White House. But, with a first term marred by recession, two wars and empty political capital after Obamacare, immigration reform was shelved.
That changed with his re-election. When waves of Latinos delivered the president his second election victory, immigration reform became an unshakeable top priority.
Yet one month after re-election, the massacre at Sandy Hook shook the nation. That horrific event catapulted gun control to the top of the news cycle, pushing immigration reform back and putting guns at the top of President Obama’s priority list.
After Boston, once again, immigration reform stands in the shadows of a national tragedy. But, this time, regardless of the distractions, the bill has been released. It’s here.
Immigration reform is no longer a presidential priority, it's a potential reality.