Flickr image courtesy Scott Robinson

As the Republicans swept into control of the U.S. House of Representatives, the prospects for immigration reform went out the door with defeated Democrats.

While Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said that he will push for some kind of immigration reform legislation in the remainder of the lame-duck session, the prospect of a shift to the right over immigration enforcement looms large.

Lamar Smith, the Republican representative in position to become chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said he will prioritize immigration enforcement over efforts to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws.

Although the GOP chipped away at the Democrat majority in the U.S. Senate by taking six seats, Latinos – and, by extension, immigrants – were credited with saving the seats of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and California Senator Barbara boxer.

Latino politicians also fared well as the nation’s largest minority group won some political offices for the first time, such as the first Hispanic governor in Nevada.

Immigration played a large role in some state races, as Meg Whitman’s firing of a former housekeeper who she had learned was an illegal immigrant helped persuade Latinos to back Jerry Brown for California’s new governor. Meanwhile, Arizona re-elected Jan Brewer, a staunch supporter of that state’s controversial immigration law, known as SB 1070.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments for and against the law. A Three-judge panel in San Francisco appeared to support part of the law, according to various news reports.

Drug-related violence continued to plague Mexico just south of the border. One of the top leaders of the Gulf Cartel was one of dozens killed in the border city of Matamoros, south of Brownsville. In the Rio Grande Valley, about 60 miles to the east in Reynosa, Mexico, some children deported without their parents are believed to have been kidnapped.

Andrew Becker is a reporter for Reveal, covering border, national and homeland security issues, as well as weapons and gun trafficking. He has focused on waste, fraud and abuse – with stories ranging from border corruption to the expanding use of drones and unmanned aerial vehicles, from the militarization of police to the intersection of politics and policy related to immigration, from terrorism to drug trafficking. Becker's reporting has appeared in The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Newsweek/The Daily Beast and on National Public Radio and PBS/FRONTLINE, among others. He received a master's degree in journalism from UC Berkeley. Becker is based in Reveal's Emeryville, California, office.