This Week in Immigration Reform: Is Time Running Out?

This past week it became clear October is the month to watch for immigration reform. Politico argued that “fall’s fiscal fights have lined up in a way that could delay immigration reform until 2014… imperiling the effort’s prospects before the midterm elections,” and make October crunched for time, but not everyone buys it. October is also looking likely for a release of the House Gang of Seven’s comprehensive immigration reform bill and the Obama administration wants to see a bill debated in the House then.

Immigration reform advocates feel positive about the impact they made over the August recess and continue to pound the pavement with editorials such as “Top five reasons why immigration reform is likely to pass this year.” The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is also holding on to hope, saying that the “chances for getting a ‘good’ immigration bill through Congress this year are about 50-50.”  Others, like AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and America’s Voice Executive Director Frank Sharry are a bit more forceful with their words, arguing that failure to pass immigration reform with a path to citizenship will cost Republicans.

While reform is not the focus of all town hall meetings, last week saw tea party favorite Rep. Steve Southerland (R-FL) announce his consideration for supporting a pathway to citizenship. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) continued his town hall tour of Republican districts, this time in Virginia without GOP Reps. Bob Goodlatte and Frank Wolf.

Also, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) told constituents the Senate bill is not “amnesty.” Republicans Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake hosted an immigration-specific forum in Arizona, while Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) spoke up in support of reform amid heckling at the Americans for Prosperity Foundation’s Defending the American Dream Summit.

Last week marked the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, and many advocates made an effort to reframe the struggle for immigration reform in light of the civil rights movement. Examples include pieces from Cecilia Munoz and Jose Antonio Vargas in the Huffington Post.

This Friday will be Janet Napolitano’s last day as Department of Homeland Security Secretary. In her departing address, Napolitano highlighted the DACA program as an example of prosecutorial discretion and called out Congress for its failure to pass the DREAM Act.    

And in case you missed them, here are some recent Brookings immigration posts on DACA, a discharge petition in the House, and political evolution on a path to citizenship.