Immigration to play vital role in elections

FlgImmigration reform could play a crucial part in around a half a dozen Senate elections from South Carolina to California this year.  The outcome of these elections will help to decide on which of the political parties controls the Senate and whether or not that chamber might be willing to once again take up the cause of immigration reform in the event that the House of Representatives again fails to pass it in the current session of Congress.

Republicans hold 45 seats in the Senate and the Democrats hold 54, with two independents who tend to side with the latter.  Last year the Senate passed a sweeping bipartisan immigration bill that offered a path to US citizenship for around 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the US.

In the event that the House of Representatives again fails to act before the end of the current two-year session of Congress in January 2015, the immigration bill would expire and attempts to enact reform might have to start from scratch all over again.  Senators Lamar Alexander from Tennessee and Lindsey Graham from South Carolina, who voted for the bill last year, are facing challenges from candidates from the “Tea Party” who have viciously criticized their support for reform.

However, business leaders have come out in support of the Senators, with the US Chamber of Commerce’s executive director of media relations, Blair Latoff, saying the Chamber is proud to have stood and continues to stand with Graham and Alexander.