President Obama met with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus this week to talk next steps regarding immigration reform after the Senate blocked the passage of the DREAM act over the weekend.
Although both Latino congressional members and the President acknowledged that they would have a difficult—if not impossible—time navigating any sort of comprehensive reform legislation until after the 2012 elections, the President also said he refused to give up on his goal. He promised to bring up immigration reform in his next national State of the Union address in hopes of pressuring Republicans to recognize the power of Latinos in the U.S.
"The reality is, we're no longer on the House side in charge of the agenda,'' Rep. Charlie Gonzalez (D- Texas) told the LA Times. "We would never have had a vote on the Dream Act if the Republicans were in charge. So we need to understand that.''
Instead, Democrats and the President want to refocus their efforts on preventing the passage of anti-immigrant laws such as SB 1070. Obama even went so far as to say he would veto legislation that he deemed punitive to immigrants if need be.
Even some Republicans see the parties marginalization of such a potentially powerful group as detrimental to their morals and political goals. "As a practical political issue and as a principled position, the majority of the party needs to speak up against a very small minority that are coming at this from a jingoistic or racist perspective," Republican strategist Rob Stutzman told the Times. "It's time to really condemn and put that behind us."