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What’s Next? Could Health Care Reform Sink Immigration Reform?

author Published by Chad Aaron

Victory and success often carry complex consequences. A health care win could be prescription for Immigration Reform defeat. With 25 Million Americans out of work, Pres. Obama and Congress need to do something popular next.


The President was in Iowa City today selling and explaining the recently passed health care bill to the American people. He plans to make several cross-country trips between now and November to build public support for the highly controversial measure that narrowly passed the House by a 219-to-212 vote.

With the 2010 midterm elections looming and his Democratic majorities in Congress at risk, Pres. Obama must motivate a splintered Democratic base and make an appeal to independent voters who have shifted toward either the GOP or the Tea Party movement.

Every major media outlet this week has taken a stab at “What’s Next?” for the President. CNN reports, “On Friday, just two days before the all-important health care vote in the House of Representatives, 22 senators sent a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid urging him to make comprehensive energy and climate legislation a priority in the near future.” The Boston Globe leads with “President Obama and the Democrats hope to quickly tap the momentum from passage of their big health care bill to advance other initiatives on their political agenda, including curbing greenhouse gases, imposing new rules on Wall Street, and overhauling immigration laws.” And the Los Angeles Times reports “With healthcare legislation nearly complete, aides said the White House was refining its agenda for the year. The administration’s next major initiative will be a renewed push for a sweeping set of financial regulations.”

Three common “What’s Next?” themes rise to the top: financial reform, energy reform, and Immigration reform. While it is hard to say which of the three issues will rise to the top of the voter’s agenda, it appears that immigration has the least chance of passing through Congress this year.


Last week, Senators Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) penned a new bi-partisan roadmap called “The right way to mend Immigration.”

Chicago Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), one of the authors of H.R. 4321 – also known as the “Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America’s Security and Prosperity Act” is getting no traction on his bill. He introduced it prematurely last year at a time when Obama was on a one-way track toward health care completion. H.R. 4321 is sitting silent in the House while the newly formed “Reclaim American Jobs Caucus” is picking up steam with nearly 30 members and recruiting more every week. Reps. Gary Miller (R-Calif.) said, “The numbers are simple. At last estimate there were more than 8 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. labor force. And there are more than 15 million unemployed American citizens and legal immigrants. In my home state of California, there are 2.2 million unemployed but 1.8 million illegal immigrants in the labor force.”

Immigration reform will prove so divisive that according to pollster Bill McInturff, co-founder of research firm Public Opinion Strategies, it has only a 1 percent chance of being approved before the 2010 midterm elections.

Sen. Graham added on Tuesday that the lingering divide between the two parties from health care could complicate cooperation on other issues. Congress Daily reported on Graham that, ”…if Democrats used reconciliation on the health bill he would exit talks with Democrats seeking a bipartisan deal on immigration reform and climate change bills, appeared to back away from an ultimatum, especially on energy.” While using the reconciliation process will “make it very difficult to do anything complicated and controversial,” Graham said.

However, Rep. Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) speaking at a House Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee hearing last week said “At best, it appears as though immigration enforcement is being shelved and the administration is attempting to enact some sort of selective amnesty under the covers of prioritization.”

Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who is facing the race of his life, and Sen. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have not made any intention of moving Immigration to the front of the line. America is not ready for it.


With 25 Million Americans unable to find a full-time job, any blanket amnesty is out of the question. With unemployment at record highs in California, South Carolina, Florida, North Carolina, and Georgia, amnesty is out of the question. It is clear that amnesty is not popular in the United States among voters. What is popular, however, is putting food on the table and staying out of deeper and deeper credit card debt.

Last weekend more than 250,000 Americans protected their local Congressional districts against amnesty as part of the “S.T.O.P. AMNESTY in 4 DAYS!” national campaign from NumbersUSA. They visited local offices, sent faxes, delivered Congressional grade cards, made phone calls, and focused on a simple message to stop amnesty. On the other side, Reform Immigration for America and the SEIU held their own rally called the “March for America” on Sunday March 21, 2010 that drew 60,000 individuals from across the country.

Many protesters were undocumented and bused in by wealthy sponsors. Their efforts fell on deaf ears and failed to make an impact with the media or get the attention of Congress. But lest you think for one minute that open-border activists are not fighting 24 hours a day for the prize, listen to this video taken outside the U.S. Capitol just minutes after the health care bill passed.

Amnesty advocates and open-border leaders are busy. They are rallying again this weekend in Los Angeles!

However, “Si se puede!” does not ring throughout the entire Hispanic community. There is no solidarity among legal Latinos. While it is sometimes assumed that minorities, particularly Hispanics, favor increased immigration and legalization for illegal immigrants, a new Zogby survey finds that minority voters’ views are more complex.

In contrast to the leadership of many ethnic advocacy groups, most members of minority groups think immigration is too high: 56 percent said it is too high; 7 percent said too low; 14 percent just right.

What’s Next for Immigration Reform? Nothing. What’s next for America? Finding a job, summer fun, and the 2010 mid-term elections.

CHAD MACDONALD is the Director of Social Media Marketing for NumbersUSA

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