As we've discussed before on our blog, the legislation passed by the Senate back in 2013 calling for wholesale reform of the nation's immigration system has long sat idle in the House of Representatives. Here, lawmakers have indicated that they will refuse to consider the bill until measures are first taken to secure the border.
For several months now, our blog has been closely following the efforts on Capitol Hill to introduce comprehensive immigration reform here in the U.S.
While the White House has recently been somewhat silent on the important-- and always controversial -- issue of immigration, news reports have indicated that President Obama is poised to make a major announcement shortly after the upcoming Labor Day holiday weekend.
As we've discussed on our blog before, President Barack Obama is currently facing intense criticism from multiple immigrant advocacy groups over the nearly two million deportations that have taken place during his time in office.
As we discussed on this blog a couple of weeks ago, Governor Chris Christie had long given an impression of support for the New Jersey DREAM Act. At a Latino Leadership Alliance event before the last election, for example, he had emphasized the importance of ensuring "tuition equality for everybody in New Jersey." Yet just as the bill was to be sent for his signature, Christie abruptly issued an about-face, complaining that while in-state tuition equality was OK, allowing access state financial aid programs for DREAMers would be too expensive.
New Yorkers in general have a lot to gain if undocumented immigrants are allowed to apply for driver's licenses. An unlicensed driver is around five times as likely to be involved in a fatal accident, according to statistics quoted in the New York Daily News. Drivers with no insurance -- or who fear Immigration and Customs Enforcement may take them away from their families over traffic tickets -- are far more likely to leave the scene of a wreck.
"I said the legislature should move in the lame duck session towards tuition equality in New Jersey. Period," New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said recently. "I didn't support any particular piece of legislation." His statement was meant to clarify remarks a week earlier in which he said he opposed the New Jersey DREAM Act, which would have granted it.
Immigration reform groups in New York told the New York Daily News recently that they plan to fight even harder for change in upcoming weeks, even after the extraordinary Oct. 8 Rally for Immigrant Dignity and Respect on the National Mall. At that rally more than 200 people, including eight members of Congress, were arrested for refusing to move from outside the closed Capitol building.
When people talk about reforming our immigration system, they often discuss only the issues surrounding undocumented immigrants. In some cases, they may bring up the difficulty U.S. employers have bringing in needed workers on H1-B visas, or keeping them when those visas expire. Perhaps because its economic impact is less obvious, family-based immigration gets less attention in the debate, but our family immigration system is also out of date -- and it often seems to thwart the goal of bringing families together.
The crisis in Syria relegated comprehensive immigration reform to the back burner yet again. While no one denies the urgency of dealing with the vicious conflict and chemical weapons use in that country, the situation was recently stabilized somewhat by the U.S.-Russia agreement to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons hoard within a year. So why aren't the desperately-needed reforms to U.S. immigration law back at the forefront?