WASHINGTON –A top congressional staffer said Tuesday that it would take “something short of Armageddon” to derail the upcoming immigration reform legislation.
In a discussion held by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund, top aides for four Hispanic congressmen, two Republicans and two Democrats, said influence of the Latino vote in the 2012 election has helped move the legislation to the front burner.
It is on track to be introduced to the Senate floor by June.
“It’s moving phenomenally fast,” said the spokeswoman for Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J. “Hopefully by next month, we’ll have the legislation to be able to move it through committees April and May.”
Menendez is among the group of eight senators who drafted the Bipartisan Framework for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, a five-page outline of the expected legislation.
An impreMedia-LatinoDecisions poll commissioned by NALEO and other Hispanic groups found that Latinos comprised 10 percent of the total vote last November. In the same survey, 60 percent of Latino voters said they knew someone who was undocumented.
“There has been a realization of the numbers of that political reality since November,” said the chief of staff for Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla. “I’d be extremely surprised if something doesn’t happen this year.”
The aides to Diaz-Balart and Menendez, along with top staffers for Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Ca., and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., agreed that the efforts to move an immigration bill forward so far have been “cordial and friendly.”
“At the end of the day, it’s drilling down into the specifics that’s a little bit more challenging,” said Menendez’ counsel.
NALEO will also host a gala Tuesday night to honor Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., for her public service to America and the Latino community.