Immigration Reform and Climate Change: A Tale of Two Issues in the Senate
Sen. Lindsey Graham's (R-S.C.) decision to withdraw from discussions with his Senate colleagues regarding climate legislation has been greeted by some well-meaning environmentalists as a reason to bash President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) for their alleged lack of commitment to climate legislation. I think this is a mistake. Instead, the environmental community should examine its own limitations in trying to make sense out of this situation.
Graham blasted what he described as "a decision by the Obama administration and Senate Democratic leadership to move immigration instead of energy." Instead of reflexively agreeing with Graham and thereby placing themselves at odds with supporters of immigration reform, environmentalists should reflect upon the reasons why immigration reform is at this moment a far more politically compelling issue than climate for Senate Democrats to tackle.