All eyes have been on Congress for the past few months as the nation crept closer to the edge of the “fiscal cliff.” Now that the cliff crisis has been diverted, some worry that Congressional discussion on gun control laws and the national budget will drown out and delay important debates surrounding immigration laws.

Immigration reform could potentially grant citizenship to 11 million people currently in the United States illegally and help alleviate a labor shortage felt by many facets of the agriculture industry, according to a report by the Los Angeles Times.  Read more here.  

If immigration reform is overshadowed by other high-priority issues, some advocates worry that an inefficient and distracted Congress could continue to hold up immigration reform.

This latest setback comes after years of tardy promises by politicians on both sides of the aisle.  

Dairy Herd Network editor Tom Quaife wrote an editorial on the issue last year, urging someone in the government to step up and take a leadership role on the issue. In the article, Quaife lays out just a few examples of broken immigration reform promises by the Obama Administration:

  • June 2009: President Obama pledged to push for immigration reform, tapping a top Cabinet official to work with Congress and make it a priority.
  • November 2009: U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said in a speech at the Center for American Progress that immigration reform would be a priority for the Obama Administration in 2010.

As Quaife notes, until Congress steps up to face immigration reform, dairies will continue to operate in limbo and struggle to find American-born workers willing to do the physically demanding work required by dairy operations. To read more, see “Leadership needed on immigration reform.”

Following the Dec. 14 shooting tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., gun control has taken center stage. There are more "fiscal cliff" showdowns ahead. And, if one of the Supreme Court justices announces his or her retirement, it could set up a lengthy confirmation process.

Despite this, advocates hope that politicians can multi-task and tackle multiple issues at once.