The state of play for US immigration reform

While there are numerous hurdles to overcome for immigration reform in the United States to take place, it is nonetheless a promising sign that there is a fair amount of support even from the more conservative members of Congress.

The debate over US immigration reform might have been overwhelmed temporarily by the coverage of the sequestration as being a symptom of the level of dysfunction in Washington, but that does not mean that the issue has disappeared.  The immigration reform bill has in fact been slowly but surely moving forward.

The US Chamber of Commerce last month reached an agreement with the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) on how to manage the entry of low-skilled workers into the United States, something that saw an important path to immigration reform finally become cleared.  Wisconsin’s firebrand conservative governor Scott Walker brought about a new signifier by publicizing that even he was in favor of immigration reform.

Walker is just one of a growing number in the conservative ranks whose voices have begun showing support or at least amenability to the idea of creating a pathway to US citizenship for illegal immigrants. Senator Marco Rubio, Rep Paul Ryan and Senator Rand Paul are among many others voicing their support.  The growing consensus among even conservative representatives is perhaps the best symbol of hope yet been seen when it comes to the real possibility of passing a comprehensive reform bill.