Friday, January 5, 2007

The News-Times - Danbury, CT:Will the Feds Ever Act on Immigration Reform? A new Congress is in Washington, but the prospects for immigration reform are still uncertain, say politicians and advocacy groups. Control shifted from Republicans -- some of whom were more hard line on border enforcement -- to Democrats, who generally favor a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country. However, many of the Democrats newly elected in November took a firm stance on enforcement, which could make it difficult to explain to their constituencies why they would support offering legal status for immigrants here illegally. Similarly, Republicans, who had been gaining popularity among Latino voters, witnessed a significant shift of those votes in key races around the nation from their candidates to Democratic opponents. That may have been a response to GOP "hard liners" on the illegal immigration issue, and Republican leaders might try to soften their party's identity before the 2008 election. "We can assume this increases the chance we'll see legislation that grants amnesty to illegals," said Steven Camarata, director of research for the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies, a conservative group. "But it still seems very difficult. It seems unlikely that Democrats will wade into the stormy waters for a position they and the president take that is unpopular with the public."