Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Whatever Happened to Immigration Reform?

After the U.S. witnessed such an enormous influx of unaccompanied minors earlier this summer, Americans were left wondering "what’s the next step for immigration reform?"  "Do we let them stay?"  "Do we send them back?" "How will this effect the President's proposed 'Path to Citizenship' for the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants?"

While some are simply labeling this movement as a border crisis, others - primarily the immigration activists - see this as more of a “humanitarian crisis.”  Many of the now 60,000+ unaccompanied minors who have crossed the U.S.-Mexico border were escaping violent acts brought upon by gangs and cartels in their South American hometowns and villages. There is even talk of allowing such individuals to be granted asylum status in order to give them temporary, or maybe even permanent, status in the United States.

All the while, record-breaking rates of deportations are happening under President Obama's watch.  Currently, 1,100 illegal immigrants are being deported every day, and immigrant communities, as well as activists for these communities, are pleading for Obama to make it stop.  They believe having to wake up every day and not knowing if their families will be broken because ICE may find one of them deportable is an “inhumane” act.  They feel they are refugees attempting to save their own lives, not simply “illegal immigrants.”  On the other side, you’ve got your believers who think if someone has been committing a federal crime for the past five years by being in this country illegally, the only thing they deserve is a bus ticket back to their country.  What do you think?

Unfortunately, President Obama has failed to live up to his word of taking executive action, with respect to immigration reform, by the end of Summer 2014.  It is now looking like said executive action(s) may have to wait until after the November elections.  While we all anxiously await his decision, are you thinking about how this may be affecting you directly?  If you or a loved one is being affected by this movement in some way, please call 949-440-3240 or visit our website by clicking on the link below: 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

What's Next for Immigration Reform in 2014?

January 14, 2014: Comprehensive Immigration Reform never really materialized in 2013. After the Senate passed its version of Comprehensive Immigration Reform, optimism abounded that finally something would be done to overhaul the nation's flawed immigration system. But then a potential military strike on Syria happened. Then the Obamacare website had numerous rollout issues. Then Thanksgiving, Congress's winter recess, and here we are in 2014, immigration reform stalled and at a standstill.

The President hinted that the Democrats would now be willing to pass immigration reform in steps late in 2013, but rather than then get the discussion started again by offering a rather large concession to House Republicans, numerous other political issues took center stage. And we now find ourselves in 2014, an election year, does this mean the end (at least short-term) for immigration reform?

Well that depends on who you ask. For example, Speaker Boehner (R-OH) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) both want to reform immigration laws, but in a gradual, step-by-step process (contrary to the Democrat's vision of comprehensive reform, a very unlikely scenario now). They have forwarded, rather quietly, several pieces of immigration reform legislation to committees. But fierce opposition to any immigration reform, be it piecemeal or comprehensive, is firmly entrenched within the GOP's own ranks. In a recent Wall Street Journal piece, influential Republican Congressman Steve King (R-IA) made clear his stance on immigration reform by stating "[i]t would be a colossal mistake for us to take up anything that would end up just changing the subject and getting it off Obamacare and on to something that splits the Republican Party." Indeed, as has been mentioned before, House Republicans from "safe districts" (i.e. no viable threat from Democrats and/or immigration reform supporters) have made it all too clear they will not pass a bill that gives undocumented immigrants, as they put it, "amnesty" (i.e. "path to Citizenship).

The road ahead for immigration reform is far from certain. Opposing ideologies, Obamacare, and most importantly, an election in November, all point to the fact that very little will be done regarding immigration reform this year. What is a possibility is that Congress will pass a bill making it easier foreign-born science and technology grads to move to, or remain, in the US. One other likely scenario is that Congress will pass a bill to strengthen the Southern border with Mexico. But, as for the 11 million or so undocumented immigrants in the United States, their futures are still up in the air and any path to legal status in the US (at least with respect to 2014) remains very unlikely.

If you or a loved one has an immigration matter that needs expert attention, please call 949-440-3240 or visit our website by clicking on this link: Orange County Immigration Lawyer. Happy New Year to all my loyal readers, I hope to have some good news regarding immigration reform very soon.