Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013 | 2 a.m.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid predicted Tuesday that Congress will pass an overhaul of the nation’s immigration system sometime next year.
“I feel positive we will get an immigration bill passed,” the Nevada Democrat said in an interview with the Sun’s editorial board Tuesday.
Both Reid and Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., voted in the Senate for an immigration bill that requires more spending for Border Patrol activities and gives people in the United States illegally a pathway to citizenship. But the House of Representatives has taken no action on that bill, nor have they delivered comprehensive immigration proposals of their own.
So immigration legislation has been stalled in Congress since June.
But Reid said he’s confident the House will act.
“I think there’s going to be so much pressure on the House that they’ll have to pass it,” he said.
Activists in Nevada have been lobbying Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., to take action on immigration reform. But Reid said it will be the demographics of the United States that will ultimately persuade the House to pass an immigration bill.
“We have a lot of these congressional districts, they don’t care because they don’t have people of color in their congressional districts,” Reid said. “They don’t care. But there are a number of them who do care. If the Republicans ever want to elect a Republican president again, they’re going to have to get right with the Hispanic and Asian community who by more than 70 percent voted for [President Barack] Obama last time.”
National polls conducted this year show majorities of the Hispanic and Asian electorate support a pathway to citizenship for about 11 million people currently in the United States illegally.
Reid said that’s the reason Republican Speaker John Boehner of Ohio cannot ignore immigration reform during 2014.
“This is an issue that isn’t going to go away,” he said. “It’s here. We have 11 million people here who are not going to be sent back to their country of origin. They can’t do that. They can’t do it fiscally. They can’t do it physically. It’s nearly impossible.”
Reid said the House of Representatives could pass a bill now with a coalition of Republicans and Democrats.
Although a minority of Republicans would have to join with Democrats to pass immigration reform legislation containing a pathway to citizenship for people in the United States illegally, Reid said Boehner is “going to cave in.”
The bill has to pass by the end of 2014, when the 113th Congress concludes its business.