Well, the answer is yes. At last Friday’s ILIR rally at St. Barnabas in the Bronx, Senator Charles Schumer committed himself and his party to the pursuit of a comprehensive immigration reform bill in 2007.
Given Schumer’s pivotal role in securing his party’s congressional majorities in the recent midterm elections, this was no lightweight pledge.
Schumer has the power to deliver, or at least bend the ears of fellow legislators, both willing and reluctant.
The bulk of the Democrats allied with sympathetic Republicans on Capitol Hill should be enough to craft a fair and workable reform bill. President Bush is viewed as being ready and willing to sign a meaningful bipartisan measure.
And by meaningful we mean something containing more than just non-immigrant work visas.
Any path to so-called earned legalization should have provisions that will enable those deserving of an American life to secure one in a reasonable time. If for any reason they are found to be undeserving, then, by all means, they should be shown the door.
In the meantime, those undocumented Irish who have decided to hunker down for another Christmas can at least look forward to meaningful debate on their plight in the months ahead.
It was moving indeed at last Friday’s rally to hear two ILIR volunteers, Mary and Samantha, describe what it is like to miss the funeral of a loved one, or spend another Christmas Day dominated by tearful trans-Atlantic calls to family members in Ireland.
Let this be the last Christmas that such calls have to be made. It’s time to get the job of comprehensive immigration reform done, and done properly.