By: Alicia Emili
Blog Category: Immigration Reform
With more than 11 million individuals living illegally within US borders, it is clear our immigration system is in need of reform. The US is currently faced with this enormous task and the only way to ensure a proper execution of such expansive reform is for Congress to carefully address each part of the plan before unleashing it.
The highly complex comprehensive set of reforms supported by President Obama focus on strengthening border security, strengthening enforcement, streamlining legal immigration, and creating an earned path to citizenship. Core pieces of the comprehensive bill include things such as: improving infrastructure at ports of entry, improving partnerships with border communities and law enforcement, stepping up surveillance, cracking down on employers who hire undocumented workers, phasing in electronic employment verification, deporting convicted criminals, creating a “startup visa” for entrepreneurs, and launching a Citizenship Resource Center to centralize the information and tools needed for the entire process. The reform also requires illegal immigrants to pass national security and criminal background checks, learn the English language, and pay taxes with penalties before they can earn their citizenship.
While President Obama originally pushed his set of reform acts through the Senate as a single, comprehensive bill, it does not appear that the bill will survive the House in the same comprehensive form. President Obama has said that he will now accept a piecemeal version of the plan with the stipulation that the main values remain. The possibility of carving out the simple issues and leaving the complex issues on the back burner is one, he stated, that he will not support.
House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) has said that immigration reform is “absolutely not” a dead issue, but has not offered a time table for a scheduled vote. Advocates remain concerned as the passing of an immigration bill in 2014 with midterm elections on the horizon is complicated at best. However, Boehner insists on addressing the intricacies of the reform one step at a time to ensure that the issues are being dealt with in a calculated manner. Boehner is encouraged by President Obama’s recent decision to support a piecemeal approach to the reform, especially since the American people have become skeptical of large, comprehensive bills.
Overall, this gives confidence to the American people that the House is making a valiant effort to produce the most efficient reform possible, especially with the financial implications the reform could have on the blight economy. Executives of the Wall Street Journal CEO Council believe immigration reform will provide “an instant jolt to the U.S. economy,” and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that a reform would increase the revenue of the Unites States by roughly $700 billion within 10 years. With the American people’s best interest in mind, and a strict step-by-step approach to reforming the system, the US appears to be on a bright path to an effective and efficient immigration reform system.
The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race.
David Nakamura, Boehner: Immigration reform ‘absolutely not’ dead in House, Washington Post (Nov. 21, 2013), available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/11/21/boehner-immigration-reform-absolutely-not-dead-in-house/.
Obama would accept piecemeal immigration reform, UPI (Nov. 22, 2013), available at http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2013/11/20/Obama-would-accept-piecemeal-immigration-reform/UPI-43991384929000/.
Immigration, The White House (Nov. 23, 2013), available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/immigration.