What are the Odds for Immigration Reform next year?

Have you been following the heated debate on Health Care reform? You think that is a Challenge, enter Immigration Reform 2010 debate. The Immigration system is broken, and in order to fix it….well who has the solution. The Yakima Herald-Republic reports:

From our vantage point, any immigration reform is dependent on making sure the border between the U.S. and Mexico is secure. It also requires tougher enforcement laws against illegal immigrants and employers who knowingly hire them.

In the face of rising unemployment, Napolitano said the enhanced enforcement will actually protect American workers from being displaced by lower-paid, easily exploited illegal immigrants and will help the economy “as these immigrants become full-paying taxpayers.”
The issue of border security drew immediate criticism from some Republicans, who point to a significant gap in physical impediments to entering the country illegally.

“How can they claim that enforcement is done when there are more than 400 open miles of border with Mexico?” asked Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, the senior Republican on the House Judiciary Committee.

Napolitano argued that security has improved, with more than 600 miles of border fence now in place and the Border Patrol having been increased to 20,000 officers.

Immigration reform is as important a topic here in Central Washington as is health care reform, perhaps even greater. With Hispanics accounting for more than 40 percent of Yakima County’s population, much is at stake. Guest-worker details in any reform initiative will be especially critical for the Yakima Valley’s agriculture industry, which estimates that from 50 percent to 70 percent of its farm-worker labor pool is here illegally.

The failure of President George W. Bush and Congress to pass reform in 2007 underscores how difficult it will be for the Democrats under Obama to succeed in navigating the thicket of opposition that comes with any measure offering legalization provisions.

If the White House can’t satisfy that overriding concern, immigration reform will never be taken seriously. I couldn’t agree more.