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Media Contacts

Jana Wilson
School of Public and Environmental Affairs

Steve Hinnefeld
University Communications

IU professor: Window is closing rapidly for immigration reform

July 2, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- John D. Graham, dean of the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs, is available to discuss President Obama's July 1 speech on immigration reform.

Graham, who previously served as administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Office of Management and Budget under President George W. Bush, suggested in April that immigration reform legislation would be a successful strategy for Obama to pursue.

"Immigration reform had a great deal of bipartisan support during the Bush administration. But, there was also serious Republican opposition, just as there was in 1986 when Ronald Reagan championed immigration reform legislation," Graham said. While the Bush-supported plan co-sponsored by John McCain and Ted Kennedy passed the Senate 62-36, with 40 of 46 Democrats and 22 of 54 Republicans in support, the bill was ultimately held up by House Majority Leader John Boehner and didn't make it to a vote.

"As we head into the final months before the November elections, immigration reform's window of opportunity may now be closed," he said. "Obama's push for reform at this stage could be perceived as politically motivated, which will reduce his chances for Republican collaboration."

Unfortunately, Graham added, the recently passed Arizona law to fight illegal immigration has also muddied the waters for the president's legislative push. "It makes things much more difficult for Obama to find bipartisan support as the federal government considers bringing a lawsuit against the Arizona bill, which is supported by most Americans."

Graham is the author of Bush on the Home Front, which analyzed the former president's domestic legislative successes and failures. He can be reached at 812-855-1432, or by e-mail at