Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pros and Cons of the "Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2011"

Today, the “Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2011,” a bill that seeks to fix a system that has been broken for far too long, hit the U.S. Senate. Introduced by Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Harry Reid (D-NV), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) and John Kerry (D-MA), the legislation proposes a balance of solutions, such as: 

  • enhanced enforcement measures and a mandatory E-verify program which is paired with strategies to address the current population of undocumented workers, 
  • improvements to regulating future flows of legal immigration, 
  • a commission to study and regulate temporary worker programs, as well as 
  • efforts to support the integration of immigrants into America.  

The American Immigration Council’s Executive Director, Ben Johnson, commented rather positively on the bill:
“We welcome the introduction of the 'Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2011’ the first immigration reform bill of the 112th Congress that proposes a framework for lasting reform. Senator Menendez and co-sponsors should be commended for offering the country an alternative to the enforcement-only bills proposed by immigration restrictionists. 

While some politicians propose mandatory E-verify without any counter-balancing attempt to help needed workers retain their jobs, the Menendez bill proposes a strategy for the current population of unauthorized immigrants to get right with the law, implementing mandatory E-verify only in the context of broader system reforms.

At least the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act gives Congress a clear choice between enforcement-only bills that squander the country’s resources and human capital, and thoughtful, long-range legislation that puts in place the tools for a 21st century immigration system. 

Members of Congress have, thus far, provided only simplistic enforcement-only solutions and sound bites. The Menendez bill, however, gives Congress the chance to prove that it is willing to put good policy over political expediency, engage in a serious and constructive debate over immigration reform, and focus on realistic solutions rather than passing this year’s political Band-aid.” 

My own reaction is less enthused. I've written on E-Verify HERE and am dissatisfied to see it as a component of this bill. I'm not a politician, and I'm impatient with incremental change. I tip my hat to people who have the ability to work on The Hill. That is not my gift. I refuse to be happy with the “Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2011.”

"Better than garbage is not good enough for me." Call me grumpy, if you will.


Nathan R. Bogart said...

I have to agree that incremental changes are beyond frustrating. I am also wary about making E-Verify mandatory as this bill would require.

I like to see that we have a little bit of movement here, but I would be lying if I said I was enthusiastic.

That being said, it seems that compromise is going to be necessary if any comprehensive reform is to be passed. With the support and fervor of the anti-immigrant crowd, I imagine that any reform will be less than ideal, but hopefully better than things as they stand today.

Vicente Duque said...

U. S. Supreme Court in its 1982 case, Plyler v. Doe reminded us why it's important not to foreclose public education to undocumented students : "Many of the undocumented children disabled by this classification will remain in this country indefinitely, and . . . some will become lawful residents or citizens of the United States"

U. S. Supreme Court continues :

"It is difficult to understand precisely what the State hopes to achieve by promoting the creation and perpetuation of a subclass of illiterates within our boundaries, surely adding to the problems and costs of unemployment, welfare, and crime. It is thus clear that whatever savings might be achieved by denying these children an education, they are wholly insubstantial in light of the costs involved to these children, the State, and the Nation."


A+ Child Deportation : his teachers and school officials, filled with regret for the role they unintentionally played in this tragedy, are lobbying ICE officials and political leaders to halt Ernesto's deportation. They describe him as a "wonderful student," a "critical thinker and debater," who is "deeply insightful and compassionate."

Read the Whole Story here :

Huffington Post
Remarkable or Not, All Dreamers Deserve a Chance
By Bill Ong Hing
Professor of Law, University of San Francisco
June 24, 2011