Immigration-reform may yet die on the floor of Congress

It’s good news. It’s bad news. It’s confusing news. It’s immigration reform.

If you have spent any time lately paying attention to the media reports about immigration reform, you might well be wondering what is going on and who is saying what and what is going to happen or not happen. One thing is for sure, if Jeff Sessions has his way, immigration reform is done, over with and never to see the light of day. And yet, somehow, he got elected into a government that wants to forge ahead with reform —- or so they say.

Republican Sessions is one of the most vocal and outspoken nay-sayers of immigration reform. While he may seemingly be operating on his own agenda, he is a visible, vocal thorn in the side of the government. What can he accomplish on his own? Surprisingly, he may be able to swing the tide from forward momentum to, at the very least, a dead standstill. Just consider his track record among the assemblage of politicians striving to do something about reform.

Sessions offered up 15 amendments to the bill everyone hopes will shake things up enough to generate some forward momentum, and most of his proposals would completely obliterate everything in the bill as it stands. He works hard to circulate negative material about the harm immigration reform would inflict on the USA, how it would harm American-born workers and fly in the face of the rule of law. As diatribes go, he seems to have mastered the ability to filibuster about the harm any changes would do to the nation. His goal? Defeat the bill.

Interestingly enough, if you watch the ins and outs of political shenanigans on the Hill, you’ll note that on any given day support for reform could swell or diminish, in concert with whichever way the wind is blowing. This may mean that despite Session’s being a one-man band, he may actually succeed in attaining his goal, largely because although there are many who feel the same he does, none are taking the lead to do anything about it. Those that do take the lead, generally pull followers along behind them. Gives new meaning to the term “a dark horse winner.”

Even though the bill still shows signs of passing and perhaps getting further than anyone ever dreamed (The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the proposal on a 13-5 bipartisan vote), there is always the what if element to be wary of. Sessions has the ability to do serious damage and may be able to pull off, once again, what he achieved in 2007, when he led an uprising against a similar attempt to pass an immigration reform bill.

Will he succeed or won’t he? The element of surprise lies in wait behind the mask of political charisma that shifts shapes according to what may win a politician more voters. For now, the nation waits. And waits. And waits.

Sally Odell – Rifkin & Fox-Isicoff, PA is an immigration lawyer in Miami with immigration law offices in Orlando and Miami Florida. To learn more, visit