After Government Reopens, Immigration Reform Appears To Be Focus

Capitol BuildingAs the Federal government reopens in the wake of the shutdown, President Obama and House and Senate Democrats have announced that they will focus on placing immigration reform back on the legislative agenda. The President and top Senate Democrats commented immediately following the end of the shutdown that immigration overhaul should be revisited, suggesting the issue is high on the priority list.

Despite interest in immigration reform at the highest levels and pre-shutdown momentum around reform legislation, skepticism remains around the possibility for progress while “many conservative [House] Republicans are fuming with frustration over their meager gains from the two-week shutdown.” It is unclear how much of a hindrance that frustration and resulting distrust will be to any immigration reform effort supported by the White House. However, several Republicans and Democrats have suggested that passing immigration overhaul could offer Republicans a way to regain at least some constituent support lost during the shutdown standoff.  Moreover, in addition to the continued support of House Speaker John Boehner, immigration reform is supported by an array of “traditional Republican allies,” including evangelical Christians, business, and agriculture.

In light of President Obama’s strong support of immigration overhaul, his appointment of Jeh Johnson as head of the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. agency in charge of immigration services and enforcement, seemed a bit out of step.  Despite being “one of the most highly qualified and respected national security leaders,” Mr. Johnson has limited experience in the area of immigration.

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