Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Congress is still bickering about many issues, finances probably top the list, but immigration reform, a very tricky and sticky subject, may be passed this year after all. Congress has long struggled, so far without success, to create a way to legalize over 12 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. and expand existing visa programs to allow more foreigners to work here, both higher educated professionals and entrepreneurs and skilled manual laborers.
We are hopeful that Republicans become more open to immigration reform after witnessing Romney’s dismal voting record with Hispanic voters, probably thanks to his “self-deportation” suggestion and anti-immigration positions. As Hispanic voters become a larger percentage of the voters in this country, it would be difficult for Republicans to ignore them and still win elections in the future.
Although most Republican members of Congress still consider immigration reform an amnesty, leading figures in the Republican party are now stepping in to voice strong support for immigration reform.
It is encouraging to see Republicans like Florida Sen. Marco Rubio backing immigration reform. Rep. Gutierrez (D-IL) for example, announced recently that he would forego 20 years of seniority on the House Financial Services Committee to join the House Judiciary Committee which would be crucial to pass immigration reform in 2013.
Even conservative darling and VP candidate Rep. Paul Ryan and former Senator Santorum who almost won the Republican nomination who is highly conservative support immigration reform as a high priority in the legislative session for 2013.
A new Super PAC was also recently formed by Carlos Gutierrez, a Citigroup vice chairman who was secretary of Commerce in the Bush administration and former chairman and CEO of the Kellogg Co. It seeks to raise funds and awareness to immigration reform.
It is also wonderful news that the business sector is pushing this time. U.S. businesses have been suffering shortages in both highly skilled and low skilled workers. Now, we hear more business groups coming together to discuss the need for immigration reform so that these companies can hire the employees they need now instead of struggling or off-shoring these jobs away. There also needs to be serious money involved in the lobbying effort. Unfortunately, this is the way it has become in Washington D.C.
Another surprising ally of immigrants is now the evangelical Christians, including the Southern Baptist Convention, who more than just praying, now began lobbying members of Congress for immigration reform as a moral issue to treat these “strangers” well, especially since the vast majority of these strangers are Christians. It’s just wonderful and the right thing to do. See: Kent Hoover's article, Washington Bureau Chief for The Business Journals.
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Thursday, January 17, 2013


Courtesy of Greg Siskind:

Huffington Post's Elise Foley has a great piece laying out where we are in the immigration reform debate.

Surprise! Kris Kobach Doesn't Favor Obama's Not Yet Announced Immigration Plan
The anti-immigrant crusader thinks that Obama is out of touch with the public. This from the guy who convinced the whole GOP that self-deportation was an electoral winner. I guess we should ask President Romney and Majority Leader McConnell what they think.

Paul Ryan Backs Rubio Immigration Plan
This has got to be a disappointment for the hardcore right wingers. Tea Party darling Paul Ryan is embracing immigration reform by endorsing Marco Rubio's immigration plan. The Rubio plan looks pretty similar to comprehensive immigration reform packages of the past and includes legalization of illegally present immigrants. So at least three Republican contenders for the presidency - Jeb Bush, Rubio and Ryan - are now backing immigration reform plans that include legalization paths for illegally present immigrants. Two of them - Ryan and Rubio - are recent converts to the cause. And one of them - Paul Ryan - carries a lot of weight in the Republican House of Representatives. A good day politically for the cause of immigration reform.

Maybe immigration reform is going to happen?

Monday, January 7, 2013


Not to be outdone by the George W. Bush administration, the Obama administration spent more money on immigration enforcement in the last fiscal year than all other federal law enforcement agencies combined, according to a report on the government's enforcement efforts from a the Migration Policy Institute, a non-partisan Washington think tank focused on global immigration issues.
In FY2012 the government spent about $18 billion on immigration enforcement programs run by ICE and CBP, which includes the Border Patrol. It is alarming as this budget exceeds the combined budgets of the FBI, ATF, DEA and the U.S. Secret Service by about $3.6 billion dollars.
According to the report, "Immigration Enforcement in the United States: The Rise of a Formidable Machinery," federal immigration-related criminal prosecutions also outnumber cases generated by the Justice Department. The 182-page report concludes that the Obama administration has made immigration its highest law enforcement priority.
It is very sad that immigration enforcement is the federal government's highest criminal law enforcement priority. How else can this gigantic budget and increased prosecution can be explained? And how does immigration enforcement help our security and well-being by deporting the vast majority of non-criminals? This year about 400,000 people were deported or removed.
Immigration reform should be a priority of the Obama administration, not only priority in speeches  but real action to change our broken immigration system. If the Republicans will not play ball and agree to some reform, President Obama should take a bold step and mandate orders from the top down, like he did with the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) in helping these young adults who came to this country illegally.