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    Senate Majority leader optimistic on immigration reform prospects

    By Noreen Bowden | November 28, 2008

    There has been much speculation on whether and how quickly comprehensive immigration reform might be tackled in the US. There has been widespread hope that there might be another effort at immigration reform, which would presumably benefit the estimated 50,000 Irish among the US’s 12 million undocumented, soon into Barack Obama’s new term.

    An interview with Harry Reid earlier this month, by Deborah Barfield Berry of the Gannett News Service, indicates that President-elect Barack Obama and Senator John McCain, who spearheaded prior efforts at bipartisan immigration reform, have been in discussion on the issue of immigration reform. Harry Reid is the Senate Majority Leader, and the interview from which this is excerpted focused on priorities for next year.

    Q: With more Democrats in the Senate and the House and a Democrat in the White House, how do you see congressional efforts playing out on such issues as health care and immigration?

    On immigration, there’s been an agreement between (President-elect Barack) Obama and (Arizona Republican Sen. John) McCain to move forward on that. … We’ll do that. We have to get this economy stuff figured out first, so I think we’ll have a shot at doing something on health care in the next Congress for sure.

    Q: Will there be as much of a fight on immigration as last time?

    A: We’ve got McCain and we’ve got a few others. I don’t expect much of a fight at all. Now health care is going to be difficult. That’s a very complicated issue. We debated at great length immigration. People understand the issues very well. We have not debated health care, so that’s going to take a lot more time to do.

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