OKLAHOMA CITY, November 17, 2013 — House Speaker John Boehner recently made it clear that a comprehensive immigration reform bill will not be on the agenda for the 113th Congress.
Immigration reform activists are reminding Boehner the implications of this omission could be disastrous. They note Speaker Boehner could lose his job as Speaker of the House if Democrats win the majority of House in the 2014 midterm election.
President Obama lost a major opportunity in his first term when the Democrats controlled both the House and Senate to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill. The bill would have settled the issue of what to do with the over 11 million undocumented individuals in the U.S.
Yet President Obama did not take the opportunity, focusing instead on health care reform.
Immigration reform activists were upset with President Obama for his lack of commitment to pushing for immigration reform in Congress. Well-known Hispanic television news anchor Jorge Ramos even questioned the president’s commitment to the Hispanic community in a televised town hall meeting hosted by Univision during the 2012 presidential election.
The 71% Hispanic vote that President Obama won in the 2012 election gave hope to immigration activists that immigration reform would pass through Congress. But the outcome was not as expected. Republican leaders have clearly stated they are not interested in dealing wiht immigration reform this year.
Perhaps an immigration reform bill will come up in the 114th Congress, but true reform will likely have to wait until 2016 or even further. With no resolution on immigration, it could become a significant issue in the 2016 presidential election.
Republican presidential candidates for the 2016 election will have to come up with a strategy on immigration reform in order to win a significant amount of Hispanic voters.
The only possibility of immigration reform passing is in the 2016 Presidential term with both Houses under one Party control and the President deciding to make it his or her priority, just as President Obama made healthcare his top priority in 2009.
Unless the parties shift tactics and make immigration reform a major issue, immigration reform will have to sit on the sidelines until 2016 or longer.