Reid Plays Political Football with Latinos, Makes U-Turn on Immigration Reform Promise

By Seth Freed Wessler Apr 13, 2010

Just three days after promising immediate action on an immigration bill, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters today that it will have to wait. The about-face exposes what was already pretty clear: Reid’s promise last weekend in front of a 6,000 person Las Vegas immigration reform rally was little more than an attempt to garner Latino support as he approaches a hotly-contested November Senate race. The retreat raises serious questions about the Democrat’s commitment to immigration reform and its Latino base. Reid’s announcement in Las Vegas came as a surprise to many, since the White House and congressional Democrats have showed no signs they plan to fast-track an immigration bill. Reid’s aides are now saying that he never meant that a bill would be unfurled during this work session, but when he told the audience, “We’re going to come back, we’re going to have comprehensive immigration reform now,” it’s hard to see what else he might have meant. The move clearly pulls the veil off the Democrat’s Janus-faced stance on immigration. They promise immigration reform as a token in exchange for votes, and avoid meaningful action out of fear that the issue is too contentious Meanwhile, Obama and his Department of Homeland Security bolster immigration enforcement practices that tear communities apart. It’s not clear how long the Democrats will be able to have it both ways. One suspects time is getting short. Image by Center for American Progress, used under Creative Commons license.