How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Democrats call once more for comprehensive immigration reform, but how feasible is it?


Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Demonstrators hold signs supporting undocumented immigrants during a rally in Charlotte, NC ahead of the Democratic National Convention, Sept. 2, 2012

As its national convention commences, the Democratic party is pushing a platform that again calls for comprehensive immigration reform. As expected, its tone is far different from that of the stricter, enforcement-based platform embraced by the Republican party.

But it begs the larger question of whether comprehensive immigration reform is politically feasible, even now. As recent history has shown, it's one thing to discuss it, but getting this through Congress is a very tough sell.

In 2006 during the Bush administration, the imminent promise of broad immigration reforms, coupled with stringent proposals that didn't take, drove hundreds of thousands to rally for immigration reform in cities around the country. When it didn't materialize, the immigration reform lobby regrouped, with different factions pushing for smaller changes that have manifested themselves as policies like deferred action, a new plan that promises temporary legal status for qualifying young people.