Now that election season has passed, the two major political parties have begun mentioning the possibility of real immigration reform. On the Sunday morning talk shows, Democrat Chuck Schumer and Republican Lindsay Graham both touted proposals that would create a pathway to citizenship “for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants now in the United States.” Both insist that greater border security is also necessary.
Many polticians claim that without the border controlled, the incentives of going through the process of applying for citizenship will diminish. Those who enter the country and plan to work here without documents “can’t cut in front of the line regarding people who are doing it right and it can take over a decade to get their green card.” Notwithstanding bipartisanship, the truth is that most U.S. citizens support immigration as long as the workers go through the process of acquiring the necessary legal documents. Schumer and Graham have already laid out a blue print with a detailed plan, but it is now necessary that all of Congress and the Senate are on board. During President Obama’s first 4 year term, the issue of immigration was largely ignored. However, because more than 70 percent of the President’s supporters were Hispanic, something must be done within the current term or Democrats fear that this large percentage of voters will shift their allegiance to the other party.
While there is some tension between parties over the specifics of immigration reform and losing votes for the next election, the more important issue is what is to be done with the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. already. Some of the changes being proposed include “developing a secure document to assure employers they’re hiring people authorized to work in the country, and allowing legal immigration for needed workers at all skill levels. The path to citizenship would require immigrants to learn English, go to the back of the citizenship line, have a job and not commit crimes.” Another key factor is to establish an immigration system that will not require having to start from scratch and redo it in a few years from now.
Exit polls revealed that over 65 percent of people were in favor of giving undocumented workers the opportunity to apply for a legal status. If Congress can find a way to agree on policies that can make constituents and fellow policymakers happy, then immigration should not be the main problem after this 4 year term. The majority of Americans are tired of inaction on this important issue. Politicians appear to be taking note, but only time will tell if the message sent from voters results in actual meaningful reform.
If you have questions regarding acquiring legal status or wish to discuss how changes in the law might effect you or your family member, contact us at 314-961-8200.