1 November 2010
With one day to go before the 2010 mid-term elections, the immigration debate continues to take a back seat to the issues of jobs and the economy. What was thought to be a major thorn for immigration reform supporters and an opportunity for immigration repressionists has turned instead into a dud.
While analysts will debate the hows and whys of this diminished role of immigration reform in national campaign debate, the issue now is what path to follow with the expected changes in the composition of Congress and the fact that the 2012 Presidential campaign will begin as soon as the final ballots have been counted for the 2010 election.
With the chances of immigration reform success in the next Congress bleak at best, the best opportunity for reform will come over the next seven weeks. The Lame Duck session – the special sitting of Congress between Election Day and the early-January swearing-in of the newly-elected Representatives – could be the answer to years of frustration over missed opportunities and dashed hopes for millions of individuals living in the shadows across America.
This cannot happen – this will not happen – on its own. Individuals and Americans across our country must focus and work harder than ever starting on Wednesday, November 3, if they hope to get Congress to move on this issue. Immigration reform is in everyone’s interest – Democrats, Republicans, native born, immigrants, businesses, churches, communities, schools, etc. – and the time is now to pass immigration reform.
Why is the Lame Duck session the best opportunity to pass immigration reform? There are at least four reasons:
1. It is difficult to turn a vote in the Lame Duck into a campaign issue. The next election will not be for two years (2012), and there will be many other votes and issues between now and November 2012 for the voters to focus their attention.
2. Many supporters of immigration reform are likely to be voted out of office on Tuesday. These Democratic Party lawmakers have nothing to lose and they should be more willing to vote for what is best for their country rather than have to vote for what is best for their reelection.
3. Both Democrats and Republicans need the immigrant vote – especially the Hispanic vote – for their long-term viability. Republicans are set to elect Hispanic candidates to major positions in Florida and New Mexico, and Democrats do not want to be left behind. Success for President Obama’s reelection, and the re-taking of the House, in 2012 could rest with the Hispanic vote. If the Democratic Congress does not pass immigration reform, Hispanics may feel that they will be better served by Republicans.
4. Democratic Party leaders, including the President, Senate Majority Leader and Speaker of the House, promised to pass immigration reform. They missed their chance prior to the election, and the only opportunity left to them is the Lame Duck session.
The immigration reform package passed by Congress will likely not be full CIR bill that will take care of all issues. More likely it will be a combination of initiatives (DREAM Act, EB-5 expansion, additional immigrant visas for those in line for EB-2 and EB-3 adjustments, H-2B reform and other specific issues). It will also include language regarding border and internal immigration enforcement. This leaves the thorniest issues – the path to legalization for those out of status, and the future flow of immigrants – as the biggest question marks. Will Congress demonstrate the courage and intestinal fortitude to pass legislation that helps bring millions of deserving individuals out of the shadows and into the mainstream of society?
Get ready, folks. The time for immigration reform to pass Congress has FINALLY arrived.
Welcome to Mooers Immigration and the kick-off of our new website. I hope that you find the MI website as a source of information about our firm as well as the current state of immigration law and policy.
All of us at MI love what we do. Each day we help our clients succeed, and help individuals achieve their American dreams. I can’t think of a better way to spend each day.
Two new features of the Mooers Immigration website are designed to help our clients and friends stay up with the current state of immigration law and the immigration reform debate. Since immigration law and policy is more complicated than any other subject, we cannot highlight everything. Our goal is to post matters that will give you some food for thought.
One thing is for sure: Immigration is in the news today more than ever. And its impact can be felt far and wide.
One example is the recent decision by the State of Arizona to make immigration violations a crime, the first law of its kind in our Nation’s history. Under the Arizona law, all state officials (not just the police) must take action against anyone they “reasonably suspect” of being in the US without authorization. When stopped, the accused individual must produce documentation demonstrating that he or she is legally in the US. The statute authorizes private citizens to take legal action against those state officials who refuse to enforce the law.
The Arizona law has produced an understandable uproar around the country. Sports have been a particular focus, with stories of organizations calling for boycotts of Arizona:
Proponents of the Arizona statute say that the law merely reflects the frustration felt by a growing number of Americans about our country’s broken immigration system. Opponents believe that the law instead reveals a darker side of anti-immigrant hysteria. The courts will decide whether the law is constitutional, and other conservative states are likely to try to pass similar anti-immigrant legislation.
Stay tuned. The fireworks are just beginning.
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We invite you to read the latest edition of our newsletter to learn more about the Immigration Reform debate in Congress and other useful information. Let us know what you think!
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