Immigration Reform: Is it really coming?
Question: I have heard that there is going to be immigration reform. Can you shed some light on the subject and what we might expect?
Answer: Conservatives have tended to oppose immigration reform and amnesty for undocumented workers. Prominent Republicans, however, have recently come out in support of massive immigration overhauls. We could speculate as to why this is the case, but suffice it to say, immigration is on the table and both sides are talking.
At a Jan. 29 event in Las Vegas, President Barack Obama called for broad changes to the nation's immigration laws. President Obama said the following:
"The time has come for common sense, comprehensive immigration reform. ... I’m here because most Americans agree that it’s time to fix the system that’s been broken for way too long. I’m here because business leaders, faith leaders, labor leaders, law enforcement and leaders from both parties are coming together to say now is the time to find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as the land of opportunity."
Obama's immigration reform proposal includes providing undocumented workers a path to citizenship, a requirement for employers to check workers' immigration status as well as stiffer penalties for those who break immigration law.
Although in the past many GOP lawmakers have been reluctant to support immigration reform, the tides may be changing. The immigration reform tide turned once and for all on Nov. 6, 2012. The elections produced a mandate for immigration reform and now it is time to act.
The 2013 State of the Union address and the President’s call for comprehensive immigration reform led to one of the only bipartisan standing ovations. Although the anti-immigrant movement has always been loud ... their influence today is much diminished. Meanwhile, the power of the immigration reform movement is growing every day in depth and breadth.
A growing number of conservatives, including Tea Party lawmakers, religious groups and conservative media leaders, are part of the growing momentum calling for comprehensive immigration reform.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who said in an interview with Politico after the 2012 elections that he plans to pursue measures that have long been avoided by his party, including carving an immigration plan with an “eventual path” to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Many Republicans are beginning to question the sources for their information on the economic and social impacts of immigration.
Question: What can we do to help?
Answer: At this point since the ball is finally rolling after the draconian 1996 Anti-immigration bill, it is time to let your representatives know you support immigration reform and to keep the pressure on to move forward. Call, e-mail, write and speak out. You can do it tactfully and methodically, but the more the congressional representatives know that their constituents are behind them with immigration reform, the more likely we will have a new and complete comprehensive immigration reform bill.