In the wake of all the memories surrounding Senator Arlen Specter and his service in the U.S. Senate, it is important to underscore his leadership in the immigration reform debate. Some remember the valiant efforts of senators McCain and Kennedy. But behind the scene and at the helm of the Senate Judiciary Committee was its then chair, Senator Arlen Specter.

Senator Specter was the driving force behind the ONLY piece of comprehensive immigration reform legislation that has passed the Senate in 20 years during the 109th Congress. It was through his tireless efforts and commitment to the policy issue that S. 2611, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006, passed the Senate on May 25, 2006.

This legislation, although never passed by the House, remains today a structural roadmap for fixes that must occur to mend our severely broken immigration system.

Senator Specter had a way of bringing all sides together even though it was clear he wasn’t beholden to any particular party or any particular stakeholder in the debate. He was working toward a policy that was right for the United States. He will be missed as a person and as a skilled politician, especially in the immigration world.