Remember when a bipartisan group of Senators unveiled their plan for what they wanted to see in a comprehensive immigration reform bill? Remember the handshaking and applause that came right on the coattails of the president’s second inauguration? Remember the camaraderie, the smiles, John McCain’s big red face?
Well, two months have gone by and legislation still has not been written.
Although the Senate Judiciary Committee has just held its second hearings on the subject, they had expected to review legislation written by either the president or the bipartisan coalition by early March. It is now clear that the committee will not receive anything to review before their two-week Easter break, which begins Friday. Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy expressed frustration yesterday at the slow pace the bill is moving at saying, “Because we do not yet have legislative language to debate, the Senate Judiciary Committee will not be able to report a comprehensive immigration bill by the end of April, which was my goal.”
Many speculate that the delay may have been prompted by a desire to not release legislation right before Senators return home for a holiday. During this time, they could potentially receive heat from their constituents for unpopular aspects of the proposed legislation. Still others say that it has to do with secret last minute deals being finalized behind closed doors on capital hill. Regardless, it appears that real progress on the comprehensive immigration reform will most likely not occur until May.
The real question seems to be, why has the president been so complacent about this delayed process? During a speech in Las Vegas on January 29, Obama laid out his own presidential proposal for immigration reform, which he vowed to put forward if Congress did not act soon enough. Is he afraid that his proposal, being more progressive, wouldn't pass? Does he prefer to take credit for passing a bill that was initiated through bipartisan compromise because it well … sounds better? Is it because congressional staffers needed a breather during midterms in law school?
Whatever the reason, lets get it together, guys so that we can stop the thousands of deportations keeping families apart and give the 11 million people who have been living here for the better half of a century a path to citizenship and a voice. Lets write some legislation that we can actually debate, as opposed to hazy bullet points outlined in pundits' speeches. Maybe then I can stop hearing that terrible John Mayer song, “Waiting on the World to Change,” play on repeat in my head.