Several events in recent days have thrust immigration reform back onto the national stage. The first was a statement by Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid that he wanted to move an immigration bill this year. The second was the reported progress Arizona has made towards the passage of a bill which would allow Sheriff Joe Arpaio and other law enforcement agents to detain people if they had probable cause to believe the person was "illegal." Despite a very crowded national agenda, the issue of immigration reform keeps coming back, as NDN predicted it would. For the immigration system is terribly broken, and its failures are very present in communities across the country each and every day. There is no way to sweep it under the proverbial rug.
As someone who has worked long and hard on the immigration issue in recent years, I am optimistic that the President and Congress will come together, soon, to fix our broken immigration system. The final bill will be some version of the very well constructed and thoughtful McCain-Kennedy bill which passed a Republican Senate in 2006, regularly garners majority support in national polls, and has a broad and deep bi-partisan coalition working for its passage. Senators Schumer and Graham have offered up a vision for how to move forward. The White House is doing a great deal behind the scenes. Secretary Napolitano is engaged and has spent a lot of time working to bring people together. I feel like a great deal of what needed to get done has gotten done these past 15 months. Progress has been made.
What I am not certain of is whether Congress and the President - given all the time the health care debate chewed up, and the continued reluctance of the GOP to work with the White House on this and many other issues - can move immigration reform through Congress this year. I hope they will, of course, but am also aware that this is a tough issue in this town these days. Conditions must be right for a bill like this to move, or we risk another spirted but failed effort like in 2007. And that would be devastating.
I will be returning to this issue in the days ahead. In the mean time I offer up a series which makes our case work for why we believe Congress and the President should pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform:
We will be updating this material over the next few weeks. Please feel free to offer up ideas on how we can make it better, and feel free to share any other ideas you have about this critical national issue. I will be returning to it again soon.
America is going though profound demographic change. Its population is moving to the South and West. New groups - particularly Hispanics and the largest generation in American history, Millennials - have emerged. Large waves of immigration have helped put America on a path to become a majority minority nation by the mid century. This new American Electorate of the 21st Century is creating a "new politics" in America, forcing both the Democratic and Republican Parties to forge new political coalitions and new electoral maps very different from the ones they built, ran on and governed with in the 20th century.
This new report takes an in-depth look at how America's population is changing, and how the two political parties are responding to these changes. Critically acclaimed authors and NDN Fellows Mike Hais and Morley Winograd present the findings of a new major market research project designed to help policy makers and political leader better understand these changes and how they might impact the 2010 and future elections, for both parties. At the core of this new presentation will be the findings of a just completed new 2,500 person national survey, whose large sample size will allow effective comparisons across generations and groups.
The presentation and report will take a special look at one of the big questions in American politics today - Can the new Obama Coalition become the new Democratic Coalition? Is the way President Obama won in 2008, with a very different map and different voters, a road map for future Democratic success or a coalition unique to him? And what does this all mean for 2010?