Thursday, November 29, 2012

Proposed Republican Immigration Bill - Dead on Arrival?

Republican Senators Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ) are taking the first steps toward their vision of immigration reform with the proposed "ACHIEVE Act" that would grant permanent residency to undocumented immigrants who pursue higher education or the military. What the "ACHIEVE Act" would not do is a grant a path to citizenship, a key criteria of many seeking immigration reform. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus has indicated their disapproval of the bill saying it would "not achieve the DREAM" and it would be essentially granting "second-class legal status." A Democratic Senator dubbed the bill "dead on arrival." Under the proposed legislation, to be eligible for benefits under the "ACHIEVE Act", an applicant must have lived in the US for the past 5 years, entered the US before turning 14, be no older than 28, and have no criminal record.

While this is an interesting move by the Congressional Republicans, it is evident that the bill will not muster enough support from the Democrats in order to be viable. At least this is a small step in the right direction (lest we forget the past four years) toward comprehensive immigration reform.

"ACHIEVE Act" aside, Deferred Action for Early Childhood Arrivals is alive and well; however, many of those eligible have not elected to apply for this program (perhaps fearing a Romney win in the Presidential Elections would doom the program). When the new numbers for "DACA" come out, it will interesting to see whether there has been an uptick in applications post-November 6.

And if you would like to learn more about the Deferred Action program (and still commonly referred to as the "DREAM Act", please visit or call 949-440-3240.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Comprehensive Immigration Reform - is Now the Time?

No sooner than the networks declared President Obama the victor in last week's Presidential Election, did we begin hearing renewed calls for immigration reform. However, this time it was a little different. This time it wasn't the progressives, liberals, or Latinos we normally hear from (although we did hear it from them too). What marked this watershed moment, was that the calls were coming from the Republicans this time too. A chorus of voices from the right including Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), House Speaker John Boehner, and none other than conservative TV pundit Sean Hannity, all were calling in unison for comprehensive immigration reform - reform that includes a pathway to Citizenship for the estimated 12 million people living illegally in the United States, as well as stronger border security and tighter workforce regulation of undocumented immigrants.

This is a breakthrough moment for millions of undocumented people - a moment that hopefully will see broad bipartisan support for a problem that has thus far eluded many a Congress. Reports are saying that this agenda is right at the top for President Obama, alongside tackling the growing deficit problem. If all this talk of immigration reform sounds familiar, it is because it is. We heard this groundswell of support before in 2007, led by Senators Kennedy (D-MA) and McCain (R-AZ). However, as we are all aware, the measure sputtered and died in the Senate.

For the prosperity, security, and future of the United States, I for one hope that comprehensive immigration reform is passed into law by Congress and the President...time will only tell, stay tuned...

If you have an immigration matter you need assistance with, contact immigration attorney Kapesh Patel. Visit for more information.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

President Obama's Reelection

Yesterday, President Obama won his second term as President of the United States, beating his challenger, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, 303-206. From an immigration standpoint, this is historic and "game changing". Deferred Action, colloquially known as "The Dream Act" is in all likelihood to stay, but that is just a small piece of the picture.

Pundits are already pointing fingers as to why Mitt Romney lost. One of the more prevalent theories floating around is that Mitt Romney and the GOP have alienated Latino voters. The proof is in the pudding too, as 66% of Latino voters sided with the President. Many senior members of the Republican party have publicly stated that change is needed in the GOP - they can no longer advocate policies that turn-off the crucial Latino vote. And one of those policies is the party's stance on immigration reform and illegal immigration in general.

Looking forward into Obama's second term, it is safe to say that comprehensive immigration reform will more than likely happen. It has to happen, both for the Democrats, and now for the Republicans. The President promised immigration reform when he was campaigning for his first term, his legacy will now depend upon it to an extent. And if the Republicans want to take back the White House in 2016, they must work with the President and Congressional Democrats on real immigration reform. They can no longer alienate a large and growing part of the electorate.

For the millions of illegal immigrants living and working in the US, the future is looking just a little brighter today. Let's hope both sides can come together, and once and for all, put an end to the immigration debate by passing comprehensive immigration reform.