It is a truth universally
acknowledged that President
Reagan’s immigration package
would have no chance of passing in today’s
hyper-partisan climate regardless of who controls Congress.  Most members of the Gipper’s own party now
refer to it as the dirty word "amnesty" while a majority of their esteemed
colleagues wonder how to couple a pathway to citizenship with tougher
enforcement measures.  But whether
it is former Rep. Tom Tancredo’s pride, Poizner’s perceived immigrant
or simply the anger of a different kind of afternoon tea party,
chances are slim that comprehensive immigration reform will happen in 2010.

Despite promises to many in the
immigrant rights community, especially Latinos that came out for him in droves
in 2008, the Obama administration appears reluctant to wage another big public
policy battle.  Overhauling our
national immigration system and creating a new national energy policy were supposed
to be next in line.  But if the
punditocracy thought the political capital credit card was maxed out after the
bruising battle over healthcare, now the Senate and Team Obama will be consumed
over the summer on winning confirmation of a new Supreme Court nominee.  And there is no way either side,
despite the bipartisanship
of Senators
Charles Schumer (D-New York) and Lindsay Graham (R-South
Carolina), will go anywhere near immigration going into the final stretch of
the election season.

Syndicated columnist Tom Elias was
on Off the Presses recently
to sing a different version of that famous Sam Cooke song: change is not gonna
come (this year).  Democrats are
far from united on the issue; cannot stop a filibuster in the Senate which is sure
to happen for anything that smacks of amnesty; and are worried about their own
political preservation in November.

Public attitudes about immigrants
are shifting here in the Golden State according to a recent USC/LA
poll (I guess a certain gubernatorial candidate didn’t get the
proverbial memo) but as Willie C. Velasquez Institute president President
Antonio Gonzalez said at the recent Coro
CrossTalk on Immigration
, "Elections are about
public opinion; legislation is not.  Legislation is about power and politics–and intensity."

with the big House vote on healthcare reform last month were immigrant marches
in DC, San Jose and other cities across the nation.  Undocumented immigrants were left out of Biden’s BFD policy change
but expect to see more of the intensity and power politics Gonzalez speaks of
applied by the immigrant rights lobby in the months ahead.  As it happens, the Pat
Brown Institute
is holding an immigrant panel discussion tomorrow here in
Los Angeles to discuss these issues as well as the intersection of race, class
and other ethnic perspectives-and the Times’ Teresa Watanabe is moderating.  You can also watch the Coro CrossTalk
videos in full with all the panelists here: one
and two.

our broken immigration system is volatile and fraught with challenges-and yet
change will have to come.  The
status quo is simply not sustainable or workable anymore.  Calls for amnesty make it difficult for
any modern day Reagans to emerge from the right, raids and deportations are
breaking up mixed-status families, and if the political maxim that you
dance-with-the-one-that-brung-ya still holds true, the President has to deliver
on a promise.  The chattering class
will just have to wait and see who shows up: the No Drama Obama that spent a
year trying to build support for healthcare reform or the more emotional
now’s-the-time Mr.
that proved his mettle in the end and won our political affections.