The political window in Washington is open for landmark, comprehensive reform to the immigration code. President Obama is expected to push for a bill in the early part of this year. Here are three ways the White House can lead the charge for meaningful, comprehensive immigration reform.
1. Empower Cecilia Muñoz
President Obama listens to Cecilia Muñoz, and for good reason. Cecilia Muñoz is awesome. As Assistant to the President and Director of his Domestic Policy Council, Muñoz has proven herself as a brilliant and loyal enforcer for the president on immigration reform. Muñoz came up through NCLR. She knows how the fight for immigration policy works in Washington better than anyone on the White House team. She also has a groomed and connected Hispanic press shop -- the first of its kind in the White House -- and a rising tide of Hispanic media to activate and involve in a supremely beneficial policy battle for America. That's what immigration is, after all (1, 2).
2. Reach Out to Marco Rubio
Any serious negociation of comprehensive immigration on Capitol Hill must involve Marco Rubio. Republican honchos recently met privately in Miami to map out the Hispanic outreach for the 2014 midterm election cycle. Senator Rubio was surely factored into the strategy in a big way, especially if the Republican Party rallies behind him to support immigration reform. The freshman senator from Florida supports a path to citizenship, and has so far been willing to make himself vulnerable to what Colin Powell calls the "dark vein of intolerance in some parts of the [Republican] party." The White House should collaborate with Marco Rubio to rally the American people behind meaningful, comprehensive immigration reform.
3. Involve Lots of Joe Biden
"It is personal for me," Rev. Samuel Rodriguez told CNN of deported friends and congregants. "These are wonderful, God-fearing, family-loving people." Rodriguez is the head of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. Joe Biden, a Roman Catholic, can probably relate to Rodriguez and other Christian crusaders for immigration reform better than any high-profile Democratic Party progressive in the White House war chest. When detentions and deportations happen -- as they way too often do -- we need "America's Happy Warrior" to intervene.