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Posts Tagged ‘immigration’

Immigration Reform Now Promising

March 31st, 2014 No comments

By: Alicia Emili
Blog Category: Immigration Reform

With more than 11 million individuals living illegally within US borders, it is clear our immigration system is in need of reform.  The US is currently faced with this enormous task and the only way to ensure a proper execution of such expansive reform is for Congress to carefully address each part of the plan before unleashing it.

The highly complex comprehensive set of reforms supported by President Obama focus on strengthening border security, strengthening enforcement, streamlining legal immigration, and creating an earned path to citizenship. Core pieces of the comprehensive bill include things such as: improving infrastructure at ports of entry, improving partnerships with border communities and law enforcement, stepping up surveillance, cracking down on employers who hire undocumented workers, phasing in electronic employment verification, deporting convicted criminals, creating a “startup visa” for entrepreneurs, and launching a Citizenship Resource Center to centralize the information and tools needed for the entire process.  The reform also requires illegal immigrants to pass national security and criminal background checks, learn the English language, and pay taxes with penalties before they can earn their citizenship.

While President Obama originally pushed his set of reform acts through the Senate as a single, comprehensive bill, it does not appear that the bill will survive the House in the same comprehensive form.  President Obama has said that he will now accept a piecemeal version of the plan with the stipulation that the main values remain. The possibility of carving out the simple issues and leaving the complex issues on the back burner is one, he stated, that he will not support.

House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) has said that immigration reform is “absolutely not” a dead issue, but has not offered a time table for a scheduled vote.  Advocates remain concerned as the passing of an immigration bill in 2014 with midterm elections on the horizon is complicated at best.  However, Boehner insists on addressing the intricacies of the reform one step at a time to ensure that the issues are being dealt with in a calculated manner.  Boehner is encouraged by President Obama’s recent decision to support a piecemeal approach to the reform, especially since the American people have become skeptical of large, comprehensive bills.

Overall, this gives confidence to the American people that the House is making a valiant effort to produce the most efficient reform possible, especially with the financial implications the reform could have on the blight economy.  Executives of the Wall Street Journal CEO Council believe immigration reform will provide “an instant jolt to the U.S. economy,” and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that a reform would increase the revenue of the Unites States by roughly $700 billion within 10 years. With the American people’s best interest in mind, and a strict step-by-step approach to reforming the system, the US appears to be on a bright path to an effective and efficient immigration reform system.

The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race. 

Sources:

David Nakamura, Boehner:  Immigration reform ‘absolutely not’ dead in House, Washington Post (Nov. 21, 2013), available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/11/21/boehner-immigration-reform-absolutely-not-dead-in-house/.

Obama would accept piecemeal immigration reform, UPI (Nov. 22, 2013), available at http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2013/11/20/Obama-would-accept-piecemeal-immigration-reform/UPI-43991384929000/.

Immigration, The White House (Nov. 23, 2013), available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/immigration.

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Different Approaches to Immigration Reform

March 10th, 2014 No comments

By: Chantal Jones

Blog Category: Immigration Reform

Immigration reform is one of the most controversial issues between the political parties in the United States. However, I believe both parties can agree that immigration reform is a major issue that needs the cooperation of everyone to be successful. Most people who are serious about fixing the immigration system through legislative reform agree on the basic principles that the United States needs to secure its borders, future immigrants must have legal avenues to enter the country, and that the nation must deal with the status of undocumented individuals who are already here. The methodology of achieving these goals is where the division lies.

There are three different approaches that can be taken when dealing with immigration reform. Dan Stein, president of Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), believes the government should eliminate incentives for illegal immigration. According to Mr. Stein, immigrants come to our country and remain here in large numbers because they believe they will benefit and that there is little chance that our laws will be enforced. Stein believes the first step is to eliminate the biggest draw to illegal immigration – employment. E-Verify, an electronic employment verification system, was created for employers to quickly verify the eligibility of employees to work in the United States. But, this system is voluntary and employers must opt to use it.

Another possible solution is expanding legal immigration. Mary Giovagnoli, director of the Immigration Policy Center, believes that the government should give legal status with condition to illegal immigrants. Giovagnoli argues that increasing our current legal immigration limits and expanding opportunities for those living and working in the United States lawfully would dramatically reduce future illegal immigration.

The third approach offered by Richard Lamm, co-director of University of Denver’s Institute for Public Policy Studies, believes that there must a compromise between the two approaches discussed above. Under Lamm’s approach, illegal immigration would be ended by a bipartisan commission that would certify that the U.S. borders are secure and that an effective employment verification system is in place. Additionally, illegal immigrants who meet predetermined criteria may be granted amnesty (after paying a substantial fine). Lamm also argues that we should be more selective about future immigrants by only admitting immigrants who can contribute skills or productivity to our country.

I think that there is something to be said for all three approaches. Hopefully, all sides can reach a compromise and the result is a more secure and prosperous country.

The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race.

Sources:

Rebecca Talent, Immigration Reform: The Politics of the Possible, The Christian Science Monitor (November 1, 2013, 10:25 AM), available at http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Common-Ground/2013/1106/Immigration-reform-the-politics-of-the-possible.

Dan Stein, Mary Giovagnoli, & Richard Lamm, 3 Views on How US Should Combat Illegal Immigration, The Christian Science Monitor (November 1, 2013, 10:33 AM), available at http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/One-Minute-Debate-3-Views/2012/0924/3-views-on-how-US-should-combat-illegal-immigration/Tighten-up-Eliminate-incentives-for-illegal-immigration.-Improve-detection-and-removal.

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Immigration Reform: Grassroots Campaigns and 2014

February 10th, 2014 No comments

By: Jay Patel

Blog Category: Immigration Reform

When House Speaker, John Boehner, confirmed that the House would not conference with the Senate, the chances of immigration reform in 2013 was meager.[1] As the debate continues into the new year, it remains unclear if grassroots protestors will have an impact on the process. As immigration reform has returned to the national stage, the number of protests and acts of civil disobedience have begun to increase. Indeed a survey of recent newspaper articles on the subject matter reveal a geographically, ethnically and politically diverse group of citizens have engaged in classic tactics that provided the impetus for past reform and became firmly enshrined as a method of achieving that goal.[2]

Protestors favoring immigration reform have engaged in sitdowns, chained themselves outside of a federal building, and blocked roads to spread their message.[3] Some protestors fasted for over a week outside the National Mall. [4] What remains to be seen is whether these grassroots efforts can maintain steam throughout the 2014 mid-term elections. If they can fan the embers through the harsh political chill, immigration reform may become too large to ignore.

The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race.  


[1] Seung Min Kim, Boehner dashes hopes of immigration talks, Politico (Nov. 11, 2013), http://www.politico.com/story/2013/11/john-boehner-immigration-99797.html

[2] Alex Leary, As momentum for immigration reform dies in Washington, human costs build, (Nov. 16, 2013), http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/national/as-momentum-for-immigration-reform-dies-in-washington-human-costs-build/2152832;  Jasmine Aguilera, Historically effective civil disobedience is now a tool in the fight for immigration reform, (Nov. 14, 2013), http://borderzine.com/2013/11/historically-effective-civil-disobedience-is-now-a-tool-in-the-fight-for-immigration-reform/.

[3] See Eric Horng, Immigration reform rally blocks South Loop Streets, ABCNews (Nov. 6, 2013), http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?id=9316182; Kip Hill, Immigration Reform Advocates Protest Outside McMorris Rodgers’ Office, The Spokesman-Review (Nov. 13, 2013), http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2013/nov/13/immigration-reform-advocates-protest-outside-mcmor/; Kate Brumback, Activists lock themselves to gates behind building housing immigration offices in Atlanta, The Republic (Nov. 19,2013), http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/6fffb7212acf4ae69cd2fc76f1658d6d/GA–Immigration-Protest.

[4] Seung Min Kim, House Democrat to join immigration fast, Politico (Nov. 19, 2013), http://www.politico.com/story/2013/11/house-democrats-immigration-fast-jan-schakowsky-100094.html.

 

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Government Shutdown Standing in the Way of Immigration Reform

January 13th, 2014 No comments

By: Joesph Squadroni
Blog Category: Immigration Reform

Advocates of getting a comprehensive immigration reform billed passed in the House of Representatives in 2013 saw their hopes dashed because of the government shutdown.  Prior to the shutdown, reform of the nation’s immigration laws seemed promising with more and more House Republicans advancing pro-reform positions and turning mere rhetoric into action.  That momentum has since died down however, as attention turned toward raising the debt ceiling and ending the shutdown.

Aside from the government shutdown, another issue preventing a reform bill from passing the House is the inclusion of an amnesty provision. Under this provision, current illegal immigrants would be provided a pathway to becoming a citizen—something to which many challengers to immigration reform are diametrically opposed.[1]  Whatever the reasons may be for the delay in getting immigration reform passed, the consequences of not doing so remain the same.  This year is an election year for many members of Congress, and the longer it takes to reform immigration laws, the worse those running for reelection will fare in the eyes of the Latino community—the “fastest growing slice of the electorate.”[2]  On a more human level, an estimated 1,120 undocumented persons are deported from the country each day.[3]  Many of these people have spent the bulk of their lives in this country, raising families here, and would benefit greatly from immigration reform.  Each day this issue goes unresolved is another day they risk deportation.

The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race.


[1] Laura Matthews, 2013 Immigration Reform: Another Casualty of Government Shutdown?, International Business Times , (Oct. 9, 2013), http://www.ibtimes.com/2013-immigration-reform-another-casualty-government-shutdown-1421442.

[2] Pili Tobar, By the Numbers: Key Immigration-Related Promises & Consequences, America’s Voice, (Oct. 10, 2013), http://americasvoiceonline.org/blog/by-the-numbers-key-immigration-related-promises-consequences/.

[3] Id.

National Day of Immigrant Dignity and Respect

December 16th, 2013 No comments

By: Konstantinos Patsiopoulos
Blog Category: Immigration Reform

On October 5, 2013, over 50,000 people nationwide congregated to advocate for immigration reform.  However, their intended audience, Congress, was likely side-tracked by the higher priority of ending the federal government shutdown.  Nevertheless, that did not stop these advocates from rallying “at more than 150 sites in 40 states” on a day that they designated as “National Day of Immigrant Dignity and Respect.”  Immigrant groups rallied from Los Angeles to Boston and all the way to Rogers, Arkansas, all carrying the same message, “[w]e don’t want any more deportations.”

In an effort to construct a pathway for immigrants to obtain citizenship, Democrats in the House of Representatives introduced a bill that included “a path to citizenship for most of an estimated 11.7 million immigrants in the country illegally.”  However, the bipartisan House failed to attract any Republican support, thus leaving immigration advocates with another hurdle to surmount while continuing on their pathway to citizenship.  Yet, as evidenced by the “Si, se puede” (“Yes, we can”) chants of the Californian advocates, immigrants remain optimistic that a resolution is on the horizon.

The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race.  

Source: 

Julia Preston, Thousand Rally Nationwide in Support of an Immigration Overhaul, New York Times (October 5, 2013), www.nytimes.com/2013/10/06/us/rallies-nationwide-in-support-of-immigration-overhaul.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0.

Is Immigration Reform Dead?

November 18th, 2013 No comments

By: Christopher King
Blog Category: Immigration Reform

The prospect that immigration reform will pass Congress anytime in the near future seems to have dimmed significantly as the House gang of seven immigration plan almost certainly will not be introduced this fall as promised.  Although politically the gang of seven immigration plan is significantly to the right of the Senate immigration bill, it has been largely been viewed as a potential compromise that could conceivably garner votes from a number of congressional Republicans.  The demise of this bipartisan plan appears to be due to the lack of support that the Republicans in the gang of seven have received from House Republican leaders.

While there is a small possibility that immigration reform could find its way onto the House agenda for the fall, House Republican leaders appear unwilling to hold a vote on any legislation that is not supported by a majority of House Republicans, further limiting the possibility of real bipartisan reform.  The more likely outcome is that House Republican leaders will simply let immigration reform die and, once again, fail to address a serious national problem that both sides of the aisle agree needs to be resolved.

The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race.

Source:

Greg Sargent, In Blow to Immigration Reform, House ‘Gang of Seven’ Bill Looks Dead, Washington Post (Sept. 11, 2013), http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2013/09/20/in-blow-to-immigration-reform-house-gang-of-seven-bill-looks-dead.

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