Posts Tagged ‘politics’

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.


Rebecca Talent, Immigration Reform: The Politics of the Possible, The Christian Science Monitor (November 1, 2013, 10:25 AM), available at

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

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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),

[2] Alex Leary, As momentum for immigration reform dies in Washington, human costs build, (Nov. 16, 2013),;  Jasmine Aguilera, Historically effective civil disobedience is now a tool in the fight for immigration reform, (Nov. 14, 2013),

[3] See Eric Horng, Immigration reform rally blocks South Loop Streets, ABCNews (Nov. 6, 2013),; Kip Hill, Immigration Reform Advocates Protest Outside McMorris Rodgers’ Office, The Spokesman-Review (Nov. 13, 2013),; Kate Brumback, Activists lock themselves to gates behind building housing immigration offices in Atlanta, The Republic (Nov. 19,2013),–Immigration-Protest.

[4] Seung Min Kim, House Democrat to join immigration fast, Politico (Nov. 19, 2013),


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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.  


Julia Preston, Thousand Rally Nationwide in Support of an Immigration Overhaul, New York Times (October 5, 2013),

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.


Greg Sargent, In Blow to Immigration Reform, House ‘Gang of Seven’ Bill Looks Dead, Washington Post (Sept. 11, 2013),

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Obama May Use Executive Power to Expand the DREAM Act: Congress Urges Against It

October 21st, 2013 No comments

By: Andrew Schneidman
Blog Category: Immigration Reform

In 2012, President Obama used his executive power to enact the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.  The DACA program defers the deportation of any undocumented immigrant aged 16 to 31 who was brought the United States as a child, has either graduated from high school or is enrolled in school, and does not have a criminal record.  The controversial program has since been opposed by Arizona, Texas, and Nebraska and challenged in courts as an unconstitutional executive act.

This year, there is a possibility that President Obama will expand the DACA program to include undocumented immigrants of any age, though he has denied he will take such action.  Nevertheless, some members of Congress are concerned about the possibility of executive action and are pressing their Congressional colleagues to swiftly pass a bipartisan immigration reform law to thwart the President’s control of the immigration process.  The members express that any executive action pursuant to immigration reform jeopardizes Congress’s ability to act in good faith to pass a bipartisan immigration reform law.

If the 113th Congress wants to prevent President Obama from taking this immigration matter into his own hands, then it must quickly agree on immigration reform and pass a law.  Given this Congress’s track record, and I say this in the midst of our government’s shutdown, I think it is unlikely that a bipartisan immigration reform law is passed any time soon.

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. 


Brad Plumer, Can Obama Legalize 11 Million Immigrants on his Own?, Washington Post, available at

Stephen Dinan, Obama Urged Not to Expand Nondeportation Policy for Immigrants, Washington Times, available at

Consideration of Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals Process

December 10th, 2012 No comments

By: *Kayla Butz

Blog Category: Immigration

The Secretary of Homeland Security recently announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which will defer removal action for non-citizen children of illegal immigrants for two years if the applicant meets certain requirements.[1]  Some of these requirements include: (1) being under the age of thirty one as of June 15, 2012; (2) having entered the United States before turning sixteen years old; and (3) current enrollment in school, a high school diploma or GED, or honorable discharge from the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States.[2]

The benefits of this program include allowing young adults to remain in the U.S. for the opportunities to work or get an advanced education. Although the applicants for deferred action originate from another countries, they moved to the U.S. at a young age and view this as their “adoptive country.”[3]  The concern with the onset of this program was summarized by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, a Republican from Texas, who stated that “[w]hile potentially millions of illegal immigrants will be permitted to compete with American workers for scarce jobs, there seems to be little if any mechanism in place for vetting fraudulent applications and documentation submitted by illegal immigrants.”[4]  Lastly, some believe this executive order was signed by President Obama as a maneuver to gain the vote in the November election of the fastest-growing immigrant population in the country: Latinos.[5]



*Kayla Butz is currently a staff member on the Widener Journal of Law, Economics and Race on the Harrisburg campus. To learn more about Kayla Butz, click the following link to view her page: Kayla Butz

[1] For more requirements, see Consideration for Childhood Arrivals Process, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, (last visited October 14, 2012).

[2] Id.

[3] Andres Gonzalez & Alicia A. Caldwell, Obama Immigration Program, Begins Taking Applications, Huffington Post, (last visited October 14, 2012).

[4] Id.

[5] CNN Wire Staff, Program Granting Work Rights for Childhood Immigrants Begins Wednesday, (last visited October 14, 2012).

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