With little support for the Republican Party’s anti-immigrant policies, the GOP is attempting to put forth new immigration bills that support comprehensive immigration reform. Despite only small variations within the proposed bills a rift between political parties has Republicans refusing to consider inclusive immigration reform while Democrats refuse to give up their vision.
Republican Senators Kay Bailey Hutchinson and John Kyl proposed an altered version of the DREAM Act titled the ACHIEVE Act. This bill is a variation of the DREAM Act and allows young undocumented immigrants who were brought to this country by their parents to gain permanent residency through attaining a higher education or joining the military. This process could still take over a decade and does not directly offer a path to citizenship. Additionally, immigrants would not qualify for federal public benefits such as student loans. Supporters of the DREAM Act criticize the ACHIEVE Act as “too little, too late.” Senator Bob Mendez commented, “The problem with the ACHIEVE Act is it does not achieve the dream.”
The STEM Jobs Act was recently voted on by the House of Representatives, which grants 55,000 visas for the qualified immigrants but alienates the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program. In response to bickering on either side, the White House released a statement emphasizing the Obama administration’s commitment to the 21st century needs for immigration reform to reassure the public that middle ground will be reached.
There seems to be a disconnect between the Democrats and Republicans over the immigration reform that America supports. The ultimate goal is to “rehabilitate our dysfunctional immigration system.” With neither party willing to budge on their ideal immigration policy, the public is skeptical that any real change will occur. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus met last week and released a philosophy which “includes an earned path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, the inclusion of families of binational same-gender couples as well as a commitment to attracting the best and the brightest while ensuring national prosperity and security.” Both sides want a solution that pleases their political party, but only a month after positive talks and promises about cooperation were made, neither party is planning on backing down anytime soon. Critics argue that political tension is stronger than the desire to rehabilitate the system. Each lawmaker is concerned with their reelection in the next few years, but completely disregarding the opinions of voters may not be the best political strategy. If you have questions regarding the changing immigration laws, contact us at 314-961-8200 or visit our contact page.