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New Mexico Telegram » Border, Delegation, Featured, Immigration » Attention in Congress turns to immigration

Attention in Congress turns to immigration

Photo by geetachurchy, Flickr off the government shutdown that had an impact throughout the country, and especially in New Mexico, Congress is turning to a high profile issue: immigration reform.

Immigration reform has been a hot topic issue for a long time — former President George W. Bush made a push for immigration reform in his second term but ultimately nothing came out of it. In his election campaign, President Barack Obama promised to put immigration reform as a top priority. In fact, Obama had promised to enact immigration reform in his first year in office.

This new push would be the first major push by the Obama administration on overhauling the nation’s immigration system.

New Mexico, as a border state, will again be heavily impacted by a potential law.

This afternoon, following a speech by Obama on the issue, two members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation issued statements calling for immigration reform.

Rep. Steve Pearce, the lone Republican in the delegation, called on the two parties to work together for immigration reform.

“The President said this morning that there is no reason not to work together on the things we can all agree on,” Pearce said in his statement. “He said we should not wait. He said, ‘let’s do it now…and let’s do it in a bipartisan fashion.’ And he’s right. We cannot afford to wait.

“We can act now on the aspects of immigration reform we can all agree on,” Pearce said. “Let’s fix our legal immigration system so that it doesn’t take years to get an answer. Let’s find effective ways to secure the border. Let’s provide answers for the millions living here in fear and confusion.”

This appears to be backing the “piecemeal” approach that a House leadership aide told CNN the House Republicans would pursue.

“Expectations are low” that any immigration bill could pass this year, the aide said. “There is a sincere desire to work on this issue, but there’s also very little good will after the President spent the last two months refusing to work with us.”
Republican lawmakers have said that they prefer reform on a piecemeal basis and that border security measures must be put in place before the status of undocumented immigrants can be discussed.

Pearce has been under pressure from immigration groups on immigration reform even as he has been seen as a model for other Republicans in wooing Hispanics.

Sen. Martin Heinrich, a Democrat, also signaled his willing to get a deal on immigration reform done, saying he urged the House to pass a bill that could also pass the Senate. He noted that the Senate passed an immigration reform bill earlier this year.

I share the president’s commitment to moving past the shutdown and getting things done for the American people,” Heinrich said in his statement. “I urge the House of Representatives to work together to finish the job of fixing our broken immigration system.”

The Senate bill passed with 14 Republican votes.

“When it comes to fixing our nation’s immigration system, the Senate has shown that compromise and bipartisanship are possible,” Heinrich said. “Despite our differences, this is an issue on which both parties can come together and find common ground.”

Heinrich noted that his father was an immigrant from Germany.

Written by

Matthew Reichbach has blogged about New Mexico politics since 2006. Matthew was a co-founder of New Mexico FBIHOP with his brother and part of the original hirings at the groundbreaking website the New Mexico Independent. Matthew has covered events such as the Democratic National Convention and Netroots Nation. In addition to politics, Matthew is an avid sports fan, especially of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and TV fan.

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