Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto

Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto


Victoria is Assistant Dean at the LBJ School of Public Affairs and a contributor to MSNBC and Telemundo. Her areas of expertise in the domestic policy landscape include immigration, Latinos, women and childcare, and economic equity. more→


Victoria brings an interdisciplinary lens to understanding policy development and its intersection with institutional and political contexts. Underlying her academic work is the applicability of rigorous research to on-the-ground policy realities.

Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto
Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto

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This post originally appeared on NBCLatino.

It’s the first week of the year and New Year’s resolutions are fresh and, at least for me, posted on my fridge.  I doubt President Obama has his resolutions up on the refrigerator, but he nevertheless has made out his 2013 resolutions list.

This past Sunday on Meet the Press President Obama laid it out, “…fixing our broken immigration system is a top priority.  I will introduce legislation in the first year to get that done.”

Now that’s a clear and concise New Year’s resolution.  And I have every reason to believe President Obama.  To begin, he has already fulfilled his first term campaign mandate of healthcare reform.  More practically, he has an electoral mandate to make good on with the Latino electorate who voted for him north of 70 percent.  And finally, a big and bold comprehensive immigration reform is the type of stuff that goes into building a president’s legacy.

Sure there’s the drama of the fiscal cliff, but that issue has become more of a permanent fixture than a temporary distraction from other issues.  The next couple of months will be consumed by fiscal reform and perhaps gun control.  But that doesn’t mean our executive and Congress can’t multi-task.

Unlike in his first administration, the president seems to be on board and ready for rolling up his sleeves and getting into immigration reform, but that won’t cut it. The problem for immigration reform in 2013 is rooted in Capital Hill.  The president’s support is a necessary condition for any major policy overhaul, but it is not a sufficient condition.

Let’s just assume the president can arm-wrestle the Senate Democrats and a few Senate Republicans into supporting his immigration reform.  Two out of three won’t cut it.

The Republican-controlled House is what stands in the way of immigration reform.  More specifically, the GOP’s split mindset regarding Latinos and immigration is what will likely prevent the president from crossing off immigration reform from his 2013 to-do list. (more…)