The immigration reform that a bipartisan group in the Senate is negotiating has been delayed in a way that increases the risk for it to fail.
No one said it would be easy to reach an agreement to update a complex immigration law, especially given the political and economic impact of this legislation.
Growing public support among Republican ranks for the concept of reform, the legalization of millions of undocumented immigrants and even a path to citizenship have created a favorable climate unlike anything seen for decades. But that is not enough.
No matter how much the support for reform grows, this is still a controversial measure with many enemies who make the most of out every opportunity to shout “amnesty,” with the goal of derailing the reform.
That is how “Obamacare” was turned into a favorite target of conservatives. The law was delayed, allowing the opposition to get organized and bombard lawmakers with criticism, much of it false, when they returned to their districts during a legislative recess.
This is why it is not surprising that a significant group of GOP senators is calling for not rushing the reform and taking as much time as needed. They know that the longer this is delayed, the more likely the political window of opportunity for its passage will close.
By this time, the legislation should have existed. However, differences about the implementation pose a serious obstacle. For example, a new disagreement between the Chamber of Commerce and the labor union sector is one of several hurdles to overcome.
The hope is that by April 8, the day Congress returns from its Easter recess, a bill that can advance in the Senate is ready. Otherwise, the possibilities for a comprehensive immigration reform bill will decrease.