Rep: Congress Has a Small Window to Pass Immigration Reform

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) says there is a brief time frame this year for the United States Congress to attempt a comprehensive reform of the nation's immigration laws.

Gutierrez, Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Immigration Task Force, received a commitement from Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) that his chamber would take up reform legislation in the near future.

Gutierrez says that the most likely spot on the calendar is the period after the Memorial Day recess, which ends June 7 and the beginning of July, when the confirmation process to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens is expected to begin.

The process of crafting and passing a bill will require Republican support, but Gutierrez says that Democrats must lead on the issue. "Democrats cannot expect Republicans to join them at the dinner table unless you prepare a menu," said Gutierrez, "we're in charge we should set the table." Gutierrez pointed to a Washington Post op-ed by Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) as a good blueprint for reform and hoped they would be able to turn that document into comprehensive reform legislation.