Everybody knew that Obama was going to tackle immigration reform in his second term. We just didn't know how soon. Well, the word is out, and it's good news for anybody eager for lawmakers to tackle an issue that's troubled the country for years. Obama will take on immigration reform this month. A fresh report from The Huffington Post's Elise Foley and Sam Stein quotes anonymous administration officials and Democratic aides in explaining that the president is going to move fast on immigration reform, as well as gun control, and advocates couldn't be happier.
None of this is a tremendous surprise, though the expedited timeline is sort of curious. Obama's been talking about sweeping immigration since he took office and, at least until 2009, has left many guessing if and when that's going to happen. He made progress last year when he kept 800,000 young people who had been brought to the United States illegally as children from being deported, making a DREAM Act-like policy initiative as the DREAM Act itself floundered in Congress. Immigration remained an issue through the election, and almost as soon as Obama won his second term, whispers of a renewed push for immigration reform started, though the White House vowed to deal with the fiscal cliff first. Obama then reiterated his commitment to tackle immigration soon on his Meet the Press appearance last weekend.
With a fiscal cliff deal (sort of) sealed, it would appear it's immigration time, and details about how the president will handle the challenge are trickling out. Stein and Foley say that California congresswoman Zoe Lofgren will lead the Democratic effort in the House and pushes back at the idea that House Speaker John Boehner will be able to stonewall the effort. "In the end, immigration reform is going to depend very much on whether Speaker Boehner wants to do it or not," she said. Democrats will inevitably have to navigate more than Boehner's will, but some say that the challenge of the fiscal cliff has Capitol Hill ready for some easier negotiations. Or as one pro-immigration reform executive told HuffPost, "The chance to legislate through regular order on immigration reform might have leaders in both parties working together and singing 'Kumbaya.'"