Parties Unite and Present Framework on Proposed Immigration Reform By Daniel Smith

A group of Republican and Democratic senators reveal their framework for comprehensive immigration reform.  After failed attempts to draft immigration reform in 2007 and 2010, both parties are once again working together to fix our broken immigration system.

Republicans have stood in the way of immigration reform in the past, fearing such reform would actually lead to an increase in illegal immigration.  Today, however, Republicans have come to the table ready and willing to share ideas with Democrats.

Why the sudden change of heart?  The recent presidential election showed that Latino voters are standing behind the Democratic Party.  Approximately seven out of every ten Latino voters voted for Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election.  This has prompted Republican leaders to rethink their strategy when it comes to obtaining the Latino vote.  As Latino voters are voting in record numbers, the Republican party realizes it must find a way to appeal to these voters or give up future bids for the White House.

So, what does the current proposed immigration reform entail?  The eight senators working on a plan have released a report titled, “Bipartisan Framework for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.”  This report vaguely describes key issues the senators intend to address.  These issues include offering a pathway to citizenship for the approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S.

Although the proposed legislation may give provisional status to undocumented immigrants, many will need to undergo several requirements prior to obtaining a green card, including having clean criminal records.  Additionally, the report suggests undocumented immigrants that would qualify for a green card be placed in line behind those who have already filed applications to obtain a green card.  The rationale behind this decision is to first award those persons who choose a lawful means of obtaining legal residency.

These requirements will not affect all undocumented immigrants, however, as there will be exceptions for certain groups of people, namely those who came to the U.S. as children and agriculture workers.  The report indicates that undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and agriculture workers will have a different, faster path to citizenship.  The proposed reform also seeks to  provide green cards to persons obtaining certain advanced degrees from U.S. universities, so they may remain in the U.S. and contribute to our economy.

President Obama is scheduled to be in Nevada tomorrow to launch his own campaign on the issue.  The Obama administration has stated that this is a top priority and will look to streamline immigration reform.

Similarly, the Obama administration recently authorized “deferred action” for certain undocumented immigrants who came as children.  Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) does not provide a path to citizenship, as this proposed legislation would do, but prevents the deportation of certain undocumented immigrants who came as children and who meet other requirements.  DACA would also allow eligible persons to work in the U.S. and is renewable every two years.

San Diego Defenders is committed to helping immigrants navigate through complicated immigration laws.  San Diego Defenders will continue to monitor this proposed immigration reform and will keep you posted on any updates.  San Diego Defenders is ready to help all of those who stand to benefit from this long awaited reform.  For more information on this topic or on any immigration matter, contact our immigration staff today at 619-392-9858.