January 28 is the President’s State of the Union Address. That is becoming a key date in the push for immigration reform, less because of what President Obama might say, and more because it is the deadline John Boehner has set for the release of the Republicans’ immigration reform principles.
We still have no idea of what they will look like, though you can be sure they will have heavy-duty border security provisions and a legalization program substantially less satisfying than the Senate’s version.
An actual bill could be introduced any time between February and April and still have time to pass. Boehner is said to be holding back on an early introduction to dampen any Tea Party challenges to Republicans who support reform. Introduce the bill later and it will be too late for Tea Party primary challengers to enter the race.
Immigrant rights groups have already got actions and events in the works to push reform along. February 20 will see vigils and protests all around the country as Members of the House of Representatives return home to their districts. In 2013, we showed Congress that we could maintain a focused campaign for immigration reform. Now that the struggle has finally moved to the House, we have to double those efforts.