Budget deal could see immigration on agenda in January

FlagIf the Senate is able to pass a long-term budget deal by next Tuesday, then the next item on Congress’ agenda could be an even more difficult prospect – immigration reform.  Leaders of the Republican Party in the House of Representatives, led by Speaker John Boehner, have claimed that such reform will be their priority in 2014.

On Tuesday, the Senate is expected to pass a bipartisan budget deal to cover the next two years.  This would clear the legislative calendar and remove the threat of another government shutdown at the beginning of the year.  Even Bob Dane of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which strongly opposes any bill, admits that “the ground is very fertile” for reform to finally get its day in the sun.

“It’s going to happen,” Vice President Joe Biden declared during a webcast last week.  Whether all of this momentum will indeed lead to sweeping changes to the immigration laws in the United States might depend on more than just current conditions, as the 2014 elections start to loom large.  Republicans remain the biggest roadblock to immigration reform and some insist they need to stand firm and oppose giving citizenship to undocumented immigrants.

Republican House leaders achieved virtually nothing this year in terms of immigration reform, though some are trying to push their colleagues into moving forward, while immigration activists have also been turning the heat up on House Republicans in recent days.