Hope for Immigration Reform in 2014
Hope for Immigration Reform in 2014

For this first time since the Reagan administration, the political stars may have aligned in favor of comprehensive immigration reform.

When the House and Senate were able to manage a two-year budget agreement at the end of 2013, they made a start at resolving Congress’s paralyzing gridlock. 

House Speaker John Boehner hired Rebecca Tallent on Dec. 4 to work on immigration reform in the U.S. House of Representatives. She came from the Bipartisan Policy Center, where she was the director of immigration policy. Boehner’s choice of such a prominent figure shows he is optimistic about the prospects for crafting a solution to the problems facing America’s immigration system. 

“Our work at the Bipartisan Policy Center demonstrates that it’s possible to develop immigration policy that addresses the interests of conservative Republicans, reform advocates and everyone in between. Speaker Boehner’s choice to hire Becky is affirmation of his strong desire to move legislation in 2014,” stated Haley Barbour, former governor of Mississippi and co-chair of BPC’s Immigration Task Force, in a BPC news release.

Debate in the House over the past year focused on tightening border security and enforcement at the expense of other issues. The House passed multiple piecemeal border security and enforcement bills and refused to vote on the Senate’s Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act.

Turning Point

When Boehner criticized the far-right members of the House for their unwillingness to compromise during the budget negotiations of 2013, he indicated a return to more traditional, business-friendly conservatism. It suggests that the House may be able to consider how immigration reform can benefit business and the economy, as well as undocumented immigrants and their families.

The issues and conflicts of 2014 are similar to those in 1986, when Reagan signed his Immigration Reform and Control Act. Reagan’s bill made immigrants who had entered the country by 1982 eligible for amnesty, but it did not create legal channels for immigration that were wide enough to handle America’s need for labor, according to the American Immigration Council. That’s why new legislation is needed today.

11 Million People

That is also why the population of unauthorized immigrants has grown to an estimated 11 million people. It has caused a humanitarian crisis. Thousands of migrants have died attempting to cross into America from Mexico.

These are the issues: Agriculture and other industries need a stable, affordable labor force. It’s wasteful to tell the many foreign students who come to America to take their talents elsewhere after graduation. Current immigration policy can separate families for years.

It’s not yet clear what form immigration policy reform will take, but this is the first time in many years it has appeared possible. 

Columnist Jennifer Rubin wrote in the Washington Post, “The president has already signaled that a series of bills as opposed to one large bill would be acceptable. The critical issues will boil down to the requirements for legalization and the nature of the legal status (citizenship, citizenship with no “special path,” green card status, etc.) will take.”

  • Trilby16

    There’s probably enough potential labor here already, with many Americans out of work. It’s nice of these people to be concerned but maybe there is some other reason that undocumented immigrants want us to change our laws?

    • tense641

      Are you and your friends and family ready to work in the fields or else in restaurant kitchens? And what other “reason” could they “want”?

      • RockyFjord

        We worked in the fields in the 1950’s and 60’s before the Mexicans flooded in.
        Mexicans make 130 pesos an hour in the US, when they send remittances back to Mexico. If Americans could make 130 dollars an hour doing the same work, they would be just as motivated, and if one dollar equaled one peso, there would be 50 million Mexicans scrambling for the southern border. Americans can outwork Mexicans any day of the year, and Mexicans are also quite lazy in their Mexican jobs, because there is no greed to motivate them as is in the US.

        • tense641

          Even though you tried to insult me by saying that my people are lazy, “quite lazy” according to you, you’ll have to work a lot harder than that to insult me dear. You don’t even know what the peso is to the dollar I guess since you’ve just equated 130 pesos as being the same as $130.00. Who do you think were asked to come to this country during WWll to work the fields and copper mines pumpkin? How many returning soldiers were just jumping to go into the fields to work upon their discharge? Try using Google and or Wikipedia since you have access to a computer, it’s good to learn how to use it, better yet try reading American History since you evidently didn’t do so while in school or is it that you are a drop out? Now I’ll ask you the same question I asked Trilby16, are you RockyFjord and your friends and family going to work in the fields? :>) giggles!
          Go away, at this point you’re like a pesky fly…shooo!

          • RockyFjord

            WWII was a long time ago, and so what — does that entitle you to illegal migration and helping yourselves to everything like it was a smorgasbord? Why didn’t you use birth control like civilized peoples.

            No, since 1968 you have increased population by 100 million with double digit families of many different fathers. Why not stay in your own fascist drug infested country and clean things up? America is not your country to just come and live off the fat of the land. I know what the rate of exchange is, maybe you don’t. A Mexican woman at McDonalds, a registered nurse from Mexico City, explained it to me how she makes four times at McDonalds than as a registered nurse in Mexico, so nice for her to buy a nice house with her American dollars sent back to Mexico. So please don’t lecture an American in his own country, mujer estupida!

          • tense641

            Take your shoes and socks off if you’re wearing any and begin to count and you may use your fingers also. WWll was actually not that long ago by dear, it hasn’t even been 60 yrs. when that war ended. Where did you say you went to school? The drugs come to this country sweetie, from all over the world, this country is the main point of destination, you need to broaden your reading material. By the way, not even 15 yrs. ago in New Mexico, RN’s were earning $14.50 per hr., LPN’s were earning $11.60 per hr.. I used to work in nursing so try something else dear ’cause that’s not working either.

          • tense641

            You lose the battle when you have to resort to an 8 yr. old’s name calling, just thought I’d let you know and by the way I am also an American cupcake.

          • Trilby16

            This is a troll. Look at his other comments on Discus. Troll, go away. Shoo!

          • tense641

            I’m a troll because I’m not a racist pig like you? Funny Trilby.

        • epazote

          Today’s exchange rate
          12.95 Mexican pesos= $1.00 US
          130 pesos= $10.04 US

      • Trilby16

        So that’s the role you see for immigrants? That is their usefulness to you? Pretty racist.

        To answer your question, I have a job and so do my friends and my family. But other Americans are not so lucky and would gladly do hard work if the pay was reasonable and not bid down.

        • tense641

          Trilby, I’m not going to allow you to dance around okay? You’re the one who brought up the “many Americans out of work” remember, so were you suggesting that they do this work?
          A handful of Americans down in Arkansas just last fall and last spring tried to do the work..guess what happened, needless to say the farmers were very unhappy.

  • abxnomore

    Will congress actually do something useful? I won’t hold my breath.

    • AskandTell

      At the Republican leadership conference in early 2013, Eric Cantor told the group that immigration reform was key to keeping/winning house seats.

      In states like California, Texas, New Mexico, etc., many Representatives are quietly pushing for pro-immigration reform as their districts have made it clear they will be voted out if they don’t.

      • tense641

        Sure hope you’re right.

      • abxnomore

        Of course, they know that they have totally alienated with group but can the GOP get it together. Their party is in total disarray, which is fine with me BTW. Time will tell but surely immigration reform needs to be urgently addressed.

        • AskandTell

          California has stated they won’t wait any longer. Their state’s ACA and healthcare cost containment depends on immigration reform. A state with the economy bigger than most countries is using their power and won’t be stopped by backwards thinking red states.

          • abxnomore

            Good thing for California. They are often the first to take big, bold progressive steps.

  • Hoodoo X2

    “For this first time since the Reagan administration, the political stars
    may have aligned in favor of comprehensive immigration reform.”

    And that certainly worked out well.
    From the government that brought you the high tech, wondrous, ‘Affordable’ Health Care Act, we bring you ‘Immigration Reform’.

    • tense641

      Isn’t this a good time to be alive and see these changes that you’ve mentioned?

  • tense641

    If only my mother was still alive to see this!

  • RockyFjord

    There is no labor shortage in America, only greed of businesses and Mexicans who leave jobs in Mexico to make 13 times more in the US. A labor short market would be a good free market indeed — where businesses employ everyone and they have to compete with others by paying more in wages. That would be a truly free market. What business wants is a market where they control both the amount and pay for labor, while also controlling the prices of goods through monopolistic and collusive practices, plus having unequal access to capital, and of course they always manage to pay no taxes whatsoever. America has betrayed its own people. Others as the Chinese and Mexicans were favored over Americans, so when it all collapses and the Chinese pulverize this nation later this century, you will have gotten what you deserved, though
    doubtless the elites will find sanctuary in their chateaus in France and Switzerland.

  • AskandTell

    There is a wonderful group in Austin called the Workers Defense Project; they work with the state of TX in representing undocumented construction workers; almost half of all construction workers in Texas are undocumented.

    Rick Perry and the state of TX allows this to continue because construction companies donate to GOP political campaigns to ensure they can continue to pay low wages, have no workman’s compensation insurance, avoid safety regulations, and illegally pay workers in cash to avoid taxes.

    The most stark example of how the actions of politicians don’t match their words..the new Courthouse in Austin (a Federal project) was built by undocumented workers.

    Excellent article explaining the Workers Defense Project and undocumented workers in TX.

    http://frontburner.dmagazine.com/2013/02/22/half-of-texas-construction-workers-are-undocumented-immigrants/

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