Will Comprehensive Immigration Reform Happen in President Obama’s Second Term?

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Julie Preston recently wrote a New York Times article titled: “Obama Expresses Confidence in Early Action on Immigration”.  The article spoke about what we should expect in President Obama’s second term concerning comprehensive Immigration reform.  In addition, The Economist, in its November 24, 2012 edition, ran a similar article about immigration reform titled: “This time, it’s different”.  This blog post will quote both excellent articles.

According to the New York Times article, President Obama has confirmed that he is very confident that he will be able to pass a bill regarding comprehensive immigration reform in his second term as president of the United States.

The New York Times article went on to state that President Obama is planning on pushing for broad-scope legislation that would include a program to give legal status to an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States, including more than 1.2 million young immigrants brought here as children, who would be eligible under a separate bill known as the Dream Act.

It appears that the President is willing to compromise with Republican law makers in the area of immigration.  The President said he would offer the larger group of illegal immigrants “a path to legal status” without saying that (this path) will lead to U.S. Citizenship.

When President Obama spoke of the young undocumented immigrants (the 1.2 million young immigrants brought here as children) the President stated: ”we should give them every opportunity to earn their citizenship”.

President Obama also plans to make visas available to farm workers and immigrants that work in the fields of technology and sciences.  In addition, he would like to enforce regulations and punish employers that hire unauthorized workers and also to enforce and strengthen border security as a whole.

Some Republican senators called for a new approach by the Republican Party towards immigration. These senators include: John McCain, Lindsay Graham, Orrin G. Hatch and Rand Paul.  All of these senators have supported legalization in the past.

The economist article stated that “the impetus for all of this activity was the drubbing Hispanic voters have just given to Republican candidates with a hard line on immigration.  Hispanics made up 10% of the electorate this year, up from 9% in 2008. They are almost certain to account for an ever bigger slice of voters at each successive election for decades to come.  Mitt Romney, who had suggested making life so miserable for illegal immigrants that they would “self-deport”, mustered only 27% of the Hispanic votes.  Meanwhile Mr. Obama, who had lifted the threat of deportation and offered work permits to certain young immigrants brought to America as children, won 71%.

The New York Times article stated that although the speaker of the House of Representatives, John A. Boehner, has stated that he was ready to take up immigration in 2013, legalization will most likely be a hard sell in the House of Representatives because many Republicans view immigration reform to be amnesty for lawbreakers”

According to the Economist article: “When Congress last wrestled with immigration reform, in 2007 John Boehner, then the leader of the Republican minority in the House of Representatives, denounced the bill under consideration… George W. Bush, the President of the day, supported it, but many Republicans opposed it, mainly because it granted an amnesty of supports to some of America’s 12m or so illegal immigrants… Yet earlier this month Mr. Boehner, now speaker of the House, declared himself “confident that the president, myself, and others can find the common ground to take care of this issue once and for all.”

Although it would appear to be in the Republicans best interests to support comprehensive immigration reform, of course, it is not that easy.  On the one hand the Republicans likely lost the Presidential election in large part to how soundly President Obama carried the Latino vote, on the other hand, some in the Republican leadership may feel that they would still lose this vote even if they supported immigration reform.

Again from the Economist article: “Many Republicans doubt that they would win over many Hispanics even if they changed their stripes on immigration.  Ronald Reagan, for example, signed an amnesty in 1986 but the Republican candidate at the next election, George Bush senior, still got just 30% of the Hispanic vote.  Indeed, if reforms include granting citizenship for illegals, Republicans risk creating more Democrats, while alienating white working-class supporters who worry that outsiders are taking their jobs”

It is unclear that this would happen.  Most of the Hispanic clients our office has seem to be very conservative and would appear to be open to the Republican party (especially if they felt that the Republicans were trying to help them live and work in the United States).

In any event it is clear that both parties want to court the growing Hispanic vote.  It will be interesting to see what compromises will be made, in Congress, and with our President, over the next four years.

If you are here illegally or have loved ones or friends who are here illegally you should pay special attention to the news over the next several months.  You are always welcome to contact our office with any Immigration questions you may have.

Lawrence Gruner is an immigration lawyer in Sacramento and a fiance visa attorney with almost 20 years of experience handling immigration cases. He has office locations throughout northern California. His office handles immigration cases throughout California (including San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, San Diego and Sacramento) the United States and the World. You may reach us at 916-760-7270 or you can reach us from anywhere in the world toll free at 888-801-6558 . You may also email us your questions. Attorney Gruner would be happy to review your situation and all of your options. He can help you come up with a plan for your Immigration case.  His office handles green card cases (both family based green cards and business based green cards) please see our post: “How to get a green card“. K1 fiance visa cases, E1-E2 investor cases, H1b cases  (please read our post: “How to get an H-1B visa“)and marriage visa cases

We handle cases throughout the state of California and the World. California cities include: Sacramento, Stockton, San Diego, San Jose, Oakland, San Francisco, Daly City, Fremont, Hayward, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda, San Rafael, Santa Rosa, Richmond, Fairfield, Grass Valley, Nevada City,Vallejo, Berkeley, Concord, Walnut Creek, Orinda, South San Francisco, San Bruno,Daly City, Pacifica, Half Moon Bay, Millbrae, Brisbane, Burlingame, Hillsborough, Foster City, Belmont, San Carlos, Redwood City, Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Mountain View, Mt. View, Sunnyvale, Campbell, Cupertino, Los Altos, Los Gatos, Yuba City, Santa Cruz, Modesto, Fresno, San Luis Obispo, Morro Bay, Coronado, Los Angeles, Anaheim, Roseville, Rocklin,Auburn, Dixon, Davis. We also have clients in Seattle, Los Angeles, Portland, Reno, Denver, Dallas, Boston, Philadelphia, Kansas City, St. Louis, Pittsburg and Chicago.

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