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A Sinking Feeling: Immigration Reform Not Likely Till 2011

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It always bothers me when cable TV talking heads and anti-immigrant shouters say “We’re not against immigrants coming to this country, they just need to follow our laws.”

Clearly, they have never applied for a travel visa to the United States, or heaven forbid, a work visa.  They have no idea of the truly scary, bureaucratic nightmare that is our immigration system. Why not just insert bamboo needles under your fingernails instead? Because it will be much faster and more pleasant.

When Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez announced the filing of comprehensive immigration reform last month hundreds of thousands rejoiced. Gutierrez also said that the Obama Administration promised to bring up the issue in 2010. Hallelujah and amen to that.I really really hope that’s true. But I have a sinking feeling that it’s a tad too hopeful. I was catching up on some stories in the Rio Grande Guardian today and lo and behold, Rep. Henry Cuellar made my heart sink. He says immigration reform will more than likely take place in 2011. Though it pains me I think he is probably right. With the two wars, the economy, the upcoming elections and the knock-down drag-out battle over healthcare reform — I can see immigration reform getting pushed to the back of the bus.Cuellar is one of the myriad Congressional Hispanic Caucus members that signed on to Gutierrez’s bill.  Here’s what he had to say:”Realistically, it is going to be hard (to pass the legislation this year), I can tell you now. We have to go back and finish the health care bill. We’ve got to finish the jobs bill. Then, of course, you get the 2010 election. So, I think, 2011 will probably be more realistic. I want it this year but realistically, it will probably be 2011.”

Another year of agonizing about how Congress is going to muck up immigration reform.

Melissa del Bosque joined The Texas Observer staff in 2008. She specializes in reporting on immigration and the U.S.-Mexico border. Her work has been published in national and international publications including TIME magazine and the Mexico City-based Nexos magazine. Melissa is a 2014-15 Lannan Fellow at The Investigative Fund.