Advocates Hopeful About Immigration Reform Under Obama, Maybe Even In First Year

Advocates want a stop to deportations and raids.

Advocates want a stop to deportations and raids. (Photo: El Diario/La Prensa).

As soon as President Barack Obama was sworn in the new White House website went up, in a rapid move celebrated by geeks everywhere. Some also found a bit of encouraging news on the site.

“Barack Obama’s White House Spoke of Immigration Reform,” headlined Univision.com. A story by Jorge Cancino on the Spanish-language network’s website underlined the fact that the “Agenda” section of the new White House site “included the commitment to promote a change to immigration laws that allows for legalizing millions of undocumented immigrants.”

The new administration’s page on immigration repeats the main Obama campaign proposals on the issue:

Create Secure Borders: Protect the integrity of our borders. Support additional personnel, infrastructure and technology on the border and at our ports of entry.

Improve Our Immigration System: Fix the dysfunctional immigration bureaucracy and increase the number of legal immigrants to keep families together and meet the demand for jobs that employers cannot fill.

Remove Incentives to Enter Illegally: Remove incentives to enter the country illegally by cracking down on employers who hire undocumented immigrants.

Bring People Out of the Shadows: Support a system that allows undocumented immigrants who are in good standing to pay a fine, learn English, and go to the back of the line for the opportunity to become citizens.

Work with Mexico: Promote economic development in Mexico to decrease illegal immigration.

“There is no doubt that the Obama Administration will push immigration reform,” said Oscar Chacón, executive director of the National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities, in an interview with Iván Mejía of New York’s El Diario/La Prensa.

Chacón added:

“In a meeting we representatives of (pro-immigrant) organizations had recently with the Obama transition team’s immigration advisors, they assured us that he has in his plans an immigration reform for the first year of his government.”

Still, pro-immigrant activists acknowledge that the new administration has other priorities that it must attend to first.

Harry Pachón, president of the Tomás Rivera Policy Institute, told Mejía that immigration “is one of the top ten issues for President-elect Obama, but it is not one of the main ones, like the economy or defending the border.”

In this context, some are willing to settle for at least some immigration-related measures that show a presidential intent to solve the matter.

Asked what they would settle for by La Opinión reporter Eileen Truax, UCLA professor Octavio Pescador said, “I think that stopping raids and a moratorium on deportations can be an acceptable measure, (plus) using the same criteria that have been used in the immigration system for family reunification.

“This would send a political message and it is a measure that can be taken immediately.”

Some Hispanic and pro-immigration advocates will take part in a march today in Washington D.C. to demand an end to deportations and Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids.

Pescador said another proposal that should be considered, since it’s likely to get Congress’s approval, is the DREAM Act, which would give U.S. citizenship to undocumented high school and college students who were brought into the country as children.

María Elena Durazo, AFL-CIO treasurer, told Truax she is hopeful.

“It’s not the first thing he will solve, but it is possible that it will happen in the first year,” she said. “During the campaign, he not only referred to the suffering of families facing immigration problems, but also to the damage this situation does to other workers, to the rest of the working class.

“My hope is based on the fact that what he has described in the job recovery plan includes a commitment to reform the laws, and I think that the designation of Hilda Solís as labor secretary is a good sign.”

11 comments

  1. HernandezUSA

    1986 Amnesty was a COMPLETE failure, because Enforcement was not REALIZED and now we have more ILLEGAL ALENS than every before!!!!!

    We need the SAVE ACT and E-verify used for every business and NOT Amnesty for criminals.

    E-verify does not discriminate against RACE, Religion, SEX or physically capability only your Citizenship and your LEGAL right to be and work in United States.

    If we can stop Predatory business owners from hiring then the Illegal Aliens will not Stay and return to their native Countries.

    This ISSUE is not about RACE, but Governments Federal/State/LOCAL not doing their jobs, because big and small business owners want cheap slaves and no labor laws to bother with……Its called GREED!

    http://www.numbersusa.com
    http://dontspeakforme.org/

  2. jen

    The immigration system in tshi country does not work. In mosy cases it takes a decade or more to immigrate legally. If your green card is sponsored by an employer, for 10 years or more you are a slave of your employer(s), have great dufficulties changing jobs and developing your career, you are prone to abuse all those years. Family based immigration often takes more than 15 years. The DHS is a malfunctioning bureucratic monster that breaks people’s lives while charging thousands of dollars.

    About 40% of the illegal immigrants in this country have overstayed their visa, most likely because it’s so difficult and costly to through with immigrating legally. The recent raids are a hameful domestic humanitarian crisis. This clountry has been built by immigrants and let’s not forget that the only non-immigrant here are Native Americans.

    numbersusa is a racist hate organization that is UNAMERICAN in spirit.

    On January 20, 2009 America is going back to the ideals this country has een built on. If you support a humane immigration reform, join AmericasVoiceOnline.org

  3. Joe

    Numbers USA supports legal immigration by any race. Please put your straw man racist argument away.

    Illegal immigrants are NOT above the law.

  4. Pingback: Daily Pundit » No Fooling

  5. Reasonable

    No one wants illegal immigrants to be above the law, we want them to be under it. The current law is dysfunctional, out of sync with reality, and doesn’t allow good people who contribute to our country to become part of it. Obama absolutely needs to deal with this.

  6. edgar

    Man this country was built on immigrants. People who so called “discovered” this land where immigrants as well. i don’t see why “Americans” and Europeans criticizes when if traced back generations where immigrants as well. I also don’t appreciate Hispanics who are against immigration reforms when im sure as hell either their grandparents or parents where immigrants too.

  7. Eman

    The only ones that should technically be called Americans are the Natives and the Mexican Natives. You all know that the European immigrants either cheated these Natives with their land or killed them and took over them. Yes those are your forefathers that did this and did the Natives tell them “Hey you can’t live here you are a illegal immigrant” no they didn’t. All that is California, Arizona, Texas were filled with these Mexican Natives so I don’t see a reason to “give” them amnesty to what was rightfully theirs to begin with.

  8. American

    Dear Barack Obama,

    When will the you deliver on your immigration agenda? Why are immigrant’s rights treated with such disregard? When we voted for candidate Barack Obama it was because we understood his sincere committment to reforming this nation’s dysfunctional immigration system. Particularly in his conviction that illegal immigrants should have a path to citizenship.

    I know that the economy is in trouble. That should be the president’s main priority. But why is there such profound silence on the issue of immigration reform? The president has not given this matter any public attention in the English speaking media. Are you working on it? We know that the president is capable of restoring order to our troubled economy. The economy isn’t going to go away. The president will be working on that problem for the rest of his presidency. But we need a president that can work on more than one problem at the same time. Illegal immigrants are crying out for help now. Some are being deported. Innocent american civilians are being made to suffer the loss of one or both parents to deportation because their parents are here illegally. And some are losing their wives or husbands. This is happening now and will continue until some leaders take on the responsiblity of stopping these inhumane crimes against our legal citizens.

    It would be a crime to let innocent american citizens live without their spouse or parent when the president has the authority and the moral conviction that this treatment is wrong and uncontionable. What is the president waiting for? The time for action is now.

    I am a third generation U.S. citizen. My great grandparents emmigrated here from western Europe at the turn of the twentieth century. I fell in love with the woman that I want to spend the rest of my life with. She is an illegal immigrant from Mexico. We have two children together. Our son is seven and our daughter is three months. We were married by a court judge in March 2006. We would like the opportunity to raise a family without persecution from Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

    My wife and I have gone through the process of filing papers with Immigration. Our I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, was approved and my wife had her biometrics taken. When we tried to file a I-485, Adjustment of Status, we were denied. She was denied because she entered this country illegally over ten yaers ago. The letter of the law is black and white. There is no path to legal status for illegal immigrants that came to this country illegally.

    As a result of filing the denied I-485 application we were on immigration’s radar. It was only a matter of time before we recieved the Notice of Deportation. As a result of trying to gain legal status for my wife we are singled out for deportation.

    I won’t let my wife be deported. I love her with all my heart and she is the mother of our children. And we hope to have many more children together.

    Once my wife returns back to Mexico we can file a waiver. The odds of anyone being granted approval to return to the U.S. at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico is not guarenteed. The typical wait for a waiver to be approved is at least one year. Waiver’s are denied more often than not. The ONLY exception to that is if the immigrant or the immigrant’s spouse have a medical condition that qualifies as an extreme hardship. If the waiver is one that qualifies as an extreme hardship then there is only about fifty percent chance of it being approved. So not if but when it is denied a minimum penalty of at least ten years is imposed before she can apply to reenter the U.S. legally. That is the law right now.

    My wife is being ordered to live separate from her family for at least ten years!

    We pray that this message reaches obama’s desk. That he is struck with the conviction to rise and act boldly in defense of families being torn apart by our dysfuntional immigration system.

    My wife is in good standing and has taken classes to become proficient in English. She can speak read and write English. She deserves the right to raise our family. She knows she broke the law when she came here illegally. She knows that there should be a penalty for it. But ripping apart a family is not the answer. Think of what trauma that would put on our children. Where’s Mommy? Where’s Mommy? Do you want to answer my children when they ask me?

    My wife only has less than a week before we are ordered to apear before an immigration Judge on March 2nd 2009. The only thing that can stop the deportation is an Executive Order from the President. I think the President needs to act boldly and justly now. Order a temporary suspensing of all deportations for illegals that are in good standing with the law and have U.S. children or spouses. That is what all people in our situation have been prayng for since the oath of office. Mr. President, I hope you will not forget the people that voted for you. God bless you.

    I have been sending you letters for weeks and weeks and I never recieved any response. I response is necessary and expected. We need an answer.

  9. Deportation can not stop. Some of these illegal immigrants are felonious, whether it be drug smuggling or even petty felonies. I think that the ICE Tactic and raids of “somewhat suspicious” buildings should cease, but overall some of these border jumpers are bringing a burden to the US.

  10. Diana

    Yes its true some people who are immigrants are real scum, but not all the people who go through that journey are felons. I think the ones who get drunk, drive drunk, and do stupid things to have reports on their police records should really go back and cause chaos over there in their countries. Now some of these drunk yards have families and perhaps sober they are truly good souls, but they aren’t that great if they prefer to endanger their families by dying and leaving them without a father. Also many of these immigrants are also women and children and they deserve a better future. I don’t know but this life is crazy i thank god my parents immigrated and we are her in the us and im a citizen at my age.

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