By Michael O’Brien
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) could not commit on Sunday to moving immigration reform this year.
Reid said he would like to move comprehensive immigration reform, but stressed that some Republican support would be necessary, a difficult prospect in the current political environment.
“The Senate is not a body that is defined by time,” Reid said on “Al Punto” on the Spanish-language network Univision. “I’m going to move immigration as quickly as I can.”
Reid was among a group of Democrats to unveil an outline for immigration reform legislation in late April, though he backed off earlier indications that he might move immigration next after it drew Republican complaints, specifically from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).
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“We are committed to do comprehensive immigration reform, the President supports us on that, but I tell everyone we can’t do a bill unless we get some Republican,” Reid stressed.
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the second-ranking Senate Democrat behind Reid, acknowledged this weekend that the busy Senate schedule ahead could put in doubt efforts to do immigration reform this year.
President Barack Obama has said he wants reform set in motion this year, and House leaders have said that immigration reform must begin in the Senate.
Reid rejected the notion, though, that Latinos would stay at home or vote for Republicans this fall — especially in Nevada, where Reid is facing a tough reelection challenge — if Democrats come up short on immigration.
“I believe, as has been indicating in all the polling, that even people who are Hispanics who identify as being Republicans, are walking away from the Republicans,” Reid said. “This is an anti-immigrant party and is very clear.”