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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, trailing in polls in heavily Hispanic Nevada, wants to pursue legislation to provide legal status for many unlawful immigrants before the Senate tackles a climate change and energy bill and as Democrats defend their congressional majorities ahead of the November congressional elections. Reid broached the change of priorities during a meeting this week with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, according to two Democratic officials familiar with the developments.
In Nevada, 26 percent of the population is Hispanic, according to the census. Reid's decision to undertake immigration legislation first came as something of a surprise to the sponsors of the energy and climate change bill, the Democratic officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk openly about the developments.