Immigration a top priority, says US Senate leader

US Immigration and Customs EnforcementThe US Senate leader vowed yesterday that reforming the immigration system is a top priority following the re-election of President Barack Obama and the Democrats, with the help of strong support from the Hispanic community.

“It’s very, very high on my list,” says Nevada’s Senator Harry Reid, the leader of the re-elected Democratic majority in the chamber, who said that it was time to “have some votes” on the issue of US immigration.  Describing the Democrats as being the party of diversity, Reid says he intends to seek votes from Republicans on immigration, pointing to Arizona’s John McCain, who at first gave his support to reform measures but was then put under pressure because of a backlash from conservatives.

“The only thing we need to get immigration reform done are a few Republican votes,” Reid notes.  “I get 90 percent of the Democrats – couldn’t we get a few Republicans to join us?  If the Republicans continue, it’s at their peril.  Not for political reasons – but because it’s the wrong thing to do to not have comprehensive immigration reform.  The system’s broken and needs to be fixed.”

The Senate has repeatedly failed in its attempts to pass Obama’s Dream Act, which would pave the path to permanent residency for many of the approximately 11.5 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States, because of opposition from Republicans.  Over two thirds of Hispanics voted for Obama this week, offering a critical boost to his re-election.