Since taking office in January of 2009, President Obama has done little to fulfill an explicit campaign promise to reform immigration laws "in my first year as president." Apparently, after 15 months of delay, it's on.
Over the weekend, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada told an immigration rally that Congress would get to work on immigration reform as soon as legislators come back from the Easter recess this week. The commitment, echoed by No. 2 Senate leader Dick Durbin, D-Ill., suggests that Democratic lawmakers and the administration have decided to ignore the conventional wisdom that immigration reform is too controversial to tackle in an election year. They're right.
Mr. Obama spent most of his political capital in his first year in office on the urgent task of reviving the economy and the marathon fight over health care. The delay in tackling immigration reform is understandable -- but regrettable.
Nothing has taken place since President Bush tried and failed to fix immigration in 2007 to weaken the argument for reform. The nation sorely needs to bring some 12 million undocumented immigrants out of the shadows as part of a comprehensive overhaul that ensures border safety, guarantees future labor needs and promotes fair and legal hiring practices.
Last month, two senators, Democrat Charles Schumer of New York and Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, got the ball rolling. They unveiled the outlines of a bipartisan proposal that would tackle the vexing problem of dealing with the millions of undocumented immigrants already here.
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