Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Immigration Reform After Senator Specter’s Switch

Immigration Reform After Senator Specter’s Switch
Pennsylvania senator Arlen Specter stunned the political world on Tuesday by announcing he was switching his party affiliation from Republican to Democratic. The switch may create a “filibuster proof” Senate that will allow President Obama to more forward on key issues including health care reform, climate change and immigration reform despite possible Republican objections. Senator Specter has long been considered a friend to Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR.) He helped draft the doomed reform bill that died in Congress in the summer of 2007 and he renewed his support for CIR at a recent Spring Conference of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA.) To that extent, the party switch will not likely change the number of votes in favor of a reform package.

Nevertheless, Spector’s switch will permit the president to move aggressively on an immigration bill this year, as he has promised. And perhaps most importantly, it will likely encourage those who see CIR as the only realistic means of solving our current immigration mess.

Overall, Senator Specter's decision to switch parties is a good for CIR and good for immigrants.

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