Syria complicates immigration reform battle

americaaaThe heated debate taking place in Washington over the possibility of military strikes on Syria has resulted in the creation of a fresh obstacle in the effort to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation in the United States, threatening to derail the momentum for the effort and crowd Congress’ fall calendar still further.

Any action in the House of Representatives in regards to immigration reform had been expected to be delayed for a few weeks thanks to budget struggles with President Barack Obama, but now the focus is whether or not Obama should be given authorization to launch military strikes on Syria, further cutting into the time that Congress will have to consider the issue of immigration reform in 2013.

“Syria is a big and important issue,” says immigration reform backer and American Action Forum president, Doug Holtz-Eakin.  “It’s going to take time and legislative energy.  The budget fights are going to be an important part of the fall landscape.  There’s not a lot of time.”  In June the Senate passed a bipartisan immigration reform bill that offered a pathway to US citizenship to around 11 million undocumented immigrants, but the bill stands little chance of passing in the House of Representatives in its current form.

Congress has little room to deal with the issue now, but the vice president of the National Restaurant Association’s labor and workforce policy, Angelo Amador, believes that there is a chance that some movement on the issue could be made in October.