The Democrat's immigration bill is not likely to make it far in the political process, but that may not be the point.
Saying the time for waiting is over, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D -IL) introduced his 600 page bill Tuesday that includes greater enforcement of immigration laws, employment verification, family reunification programs, and a path for legalizing millions of illegal immigrants. He has encouraged his most ardent supporters and millions more who are tired of waiting for congress to fix what President Obama called the country's broken immigration system.
Standing before activists chanting "Si, se puede," Gutierrez said the bill was "pro-family, pro-jobs and pro security."
But as one of the most vocal and well known advocates in the fight for reform, Gutierrez is an easy target for pro-enforcement groups. They're already using the news to build up their own base by painting him as a liberal who has introduced the expected “amnesty bill.”
Frankly, it appears Gutierrez is taking one for the team. He could propose building a 50-foot-wall, but many Americans consider Gutierrez and his supporters out-of-touch with our nation’s laws and ongoing woes with high unemployment. He’s sure to build up his base and win supporters in diverse cities like Chicago and Los Angeles. But it'll be tough to make headway in North Carolina and across middle America.
Gutierrez’s bill already has nearly 90 co-sponsors, but all are Democrats.
He may not have an expectation that his bill will make it that far. But he’s definitely teeing up the debate so immigration is near the top of the political agenda once healthcare is resolved. And he sets the discussion. His bill becomes what future bills introduced will be judged upon.
Keep an eye out on Senators Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) who are reportedly nearing completion on a less liberal, bipartisan bill expected to be introduced early next year.
The reality is any bill on such a divisive issue is going to be a tough sell - especially so close to midterm elections. Think back to September and the fury over illegal immigrants that Joe Wilson caused when he yelled those infamous two words, "You Lie."