This year has seen more than its share of controversy over illegal immigration. SBINet, the “virtual fence” at our southern border, was defunded, Arizona passed SB 1070, and Beltway pundits have expounded on the need for comprehensive immigration reform.
Most recently, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) introduced an immigration bill just before Congress adjourned ahead of election season. Since “lame duck” action on an issue like immigration is highly unlikely, the question remains: Will the next Congress act on immigration? Or will other, less politically contentious issues, cut the line?
One thing is for sure: Securing the southern border is the one facet of the immigration issue that seems to have bipartisan support. Whatever their stance on immigration, congressmen from both parties agree on the need to be sure who is able to cross America’s southern border.
However, the issues the midterm elections seem to be turning on are fiscal responsibility, tax policy and the proper size and role of government, rather than traditional “wedge” issues like immigration reform. Even when politicians have made political hay out of immigration, the issue is so nuanced that nothing ever seems to happen. Witness the DREAM act, the immigration reform legislation that has been perennially re-introduced in Congress since 2001.
So, it looks like government contracting’s best hope for immigration reform is a re-invigorated and re-imagined SBINet, possibly using UAV patrols to secure the southern border against illegal crossings. Odds are, we’ll probably have to wait at least another two years for any meaningful political action on immigration.