5 Predictions for Immigration Reform in 2010

1. Do not expect action till after the midterm elections. 2010 is election year. Congress is unlikely to take a vote on immigration reform until after the midterm-elections in November. Competing bills might be introduced and debated in the first half of the year, but the Democratic leadership is not likely to schedule a vote on the issue until after the elections even though Latino turnout might be critical at the voting booth. Do note that the 1986 amnesty was also delivered after the midterm elections.

2. A legalization program is not contentious. More than the Uniting American Families Act or any proposed legalization for 11.8 million undocumented immigrants, a plan to control future flows of immigration, including a guest worker program, might become the most contentious part of an immigration reform bill with politicians divided between family unity and skilled worker retentions. While labor and immigration groups seem united right now, factions would emerge as the specifics of the bills are debated.

3. The decisive blows won’t come from the right-wing; they will come from factions on the left. Unlike the Gutierrez CIRASAP bill, the Senate bill drafted by Senator Schumer and Senator Graham will include draconian measures in order to make compromises that grassroots immigrant rights advocates would have a hard time accepting and consequently, supporting.

4. Barking dogs seldom bite. The vocal, vociferous proponents and opponents of immigration reform might get a lot of showtime in the mainstream media but they would matter less than those in the middle, trying to hatch out and write compromises.

5. The growing power of new media to effect change. Social media, including text messaging, will play a far greater role in shaping the landscape for immigration battles on both the local and national level.

Disclaimer: These are merely my predictions. I take no responsibility for any actions and consequences as a result of writing this list.

(Photo Credit: piterart’s photostream Creative Commons Attribute)

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