Call it the August surprise. The ‘epic battle’ between those for and against immigration reform, which was supposed to be waged in town halls across the country during the congressional recess simply didn’t happen, say immigration reform advocates.
“What’s important is what we haven’t been seeing; the opposition is not that organized, ” said Jeremy Robbins, Director of the Partnership for a New American Economy. an bipartisan organization co-chaired by diverse leaders such as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Newscorp CEO and Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch and Democratic San Antonio, Texas Mayor Julian Castro. The organization touts the economic benefits of immigration reform,
“An important August takeaway is how many Republicans with a real voice – have come out and said this is good for the party,” said Robbins, who joined other immigration reform supporters in a Friday conference call with reporters. He added that more than 100 of the top Republican donors and almost everyone from the former Bush White House has endorsed immigration reform, and said his group has organized in 140 House districts. He added an example of the broad support for reform is the group Bibles, Badges and Business - composed of religious leaders, law enforcement officials and business groups – which has been actively involved in roundtables in key districts across the country.
In addition to these bipartisan and center-right groups, the AFL-CIO’s Tom Snyder said the labor group has been targeting 40 House Republicans and has had 176 specific activities this past month. “My point is we had a plan to do well in August and all of us have,” said Snyder.
But as the August recess draws to a close, the question is whether the decrease in the vocal opposition to reform and the increase in support from some House Republicans will translate into a vote in the fall. There are also questions on whether the Republican-controlled House will have time to debate and vote on immigration legislation. “Either they get it done or they get blamed for blocking it,” said Frank Sharry, from the pro-immigration reform organization America’s Voice.
Latino Decisions political scientist Sylvia Manzano agrees.
“It’s really up to them. They do have time to do this,” says I think they understand that if they don’t pass it it won’t go away. If they fail to address it now, it will come up in 2014, 2015 or 2016.”