Monday, July 15, 2013

5 Reasons to Remain Optimistic About Immigration Reform

Less than 24 hours after the November 2012 presidential election, we watched as immigration came to the forefront of national politics. As other social, economic, and defense issues dominated media coverage, immigration reform remained a priority on Capitol Hill. Now, three weeks after a comprehensive immigration bill passed in the Senate, the media, advocates, and the public are weary. Optimism for an immigration reform bill in the House is low. As quickly as the momentum for meaningful change built, the fatigue of partisan politics threatens to take it away.

So why should we be optimistic about reform? Is a continued fight towards reform a wasted effort? I don’t think so. Here are five reasons to remain optimistic:

  1. The House Judiciary has recently approved four immigration bills: the Skills Visa Act (increasing visa numbers for highly skilled workers and offering limited green cards to entrepreneurs), the Legal Workforce Act (mandatory e-Verify), the Agricultural Guestworker Act (visas for temporary farm laborers), and the SAFE Act (border security). While action by the House, not all of these bills move overall immigration reform in the right direction

  2. The issue isn’t as divisive as it seems. The majority of Americans favor fixing our immigration system. A recent Gallup poll suggests that Americans have become more favorable to immigration in recent years. Another Gallup poll suggests that 87% of Americans would support a path to citizenship for undocumented individuals.

  3. We still care about the Dreamers. The Huffington Post is reporting that Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) are working on a bill to help undocumented children become permanent residents

  4. It only takes 17. To pass in the House, a bill would only need the support of 17 House Republicans if every Democrat supported it.

  5. The President is still fighting, albeit quietly. Despite Congress’s urging the President to lay low on this issue, the President has continued to support reform. Three times this past month, President Obama has pushed for immigration reform in his weekly radio address, highlighting its economic benefits. Even former President George W. Bush has continued to support reform: 
    “We can uphold our traditions of assimilating immigrants and honoring our heritage as a nation built on the rule of law. But we have a problem. The laws governing the immigration system are broken. The system is broken.” (Remarks at Naturalization Ceremony, 7/10/2013)

By: Kelli J. Stout
Associate Attorney for McCrummen Immigration Law Group

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