Promises of comprehensive immigration reform if a candidate wins the election are familiar for the Latino community, as is the disappointment of trusting someone in vain. These experiences have resulted in a critical view of claims like the one made by Senator Charles Schumer, that a reform would be approved within three months if Democrats regain control of the Senate.
The New York lawmaker, who expects to become the Senate’s majority leader, outlined legislative priorities in case Democrats can win back the majority in November. According to opinion polls, this is a real possibility. However, the perspective of a simple majority of Democrats doesn’t mean much in a system that in fact requires 60 votes to advance any measure. Support from a few Republicans will still be needed.
In that same scenario of a Democratic victory, it will be very tough for Republicans to lose control of the House of Representatives, because of the partisan redistricting that happened in several states in 2010. As a result, a strong opposition in the House may continue.
This analysis of the situation provides a realistic view. Nevertheless, it doesn’t make Schumer’s statement any less important.
Millions of families lose sight of the fact that this is a political game of chess, when what is at stake is staying in the country after years of making sacrifices. When the threat of the family potentially being split up is a daily worry, the words of a senator become a beacon of hope.
Even more so, when the Republican option is deportation as an immigration policy. And when Republican Latinos insult the intelligence of immigrants, implying that there isn’t much difference between being ignored and pursued. They obviously never had to live through that.
Let there be no doubt that we’ll all have our eyes on Washington if Democrats win.
We’ll see if political capital gets invested in immigration reform, or if the past repeats itself once a candidate reaches the White House. Fulfilling the promise of immigration reform was seen as divisive during the first year in office, and the perfect moment vanished and never returned.
Today, Schumer’s words have the purpose of encouraging Latinos to participate in the elections. We hope that this isn’t another disappointment, for the good of millions of undocumented immigrants who during a period of many years have earned the right to live in the United States with peace of mind.