Immigration Reform is Not Dead

Vice President Biden came to Atlseiuanta yesterday to celebrate the Administration’s commitment to passing common sense immigration reform. Last week immigration advocates were exercising civil disobedience at the Capitol and  immigration reform is back in the headlines but it seems unlikely that activism will translate to a “great compromise” on immigration this year.

We really don’t need any new examples of the GOP leadership stalling or blocking responsible legislation. Speaker John A. Boehner speaker has said he would not bring Senate “Gang of Eight” bill to the House. The Gang of Eight (Sen. Michael Bennet, D-CO, Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-IL, Sen. Jeff Flake, R-AZ, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, Sen. John McCain, R-AZ, Sen. Bob Menendez, D-NJ, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-FL and Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY) have proposed sensible immigration reform that includes,

• A path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in the United States that would be contingent on certain border security and visa tracking improvements. The plan provides for permanent residence for undocumented immigrants only after legal immigrants waiting for a current priority date receive their permanent residence status and a different citizenship path for agricultural workers through an agricultural worker program.

• Business immigration system reforms, focusing on reducing current visa backlogs and fast tracking permanent residence for U.S. university immigrant graduates with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering or math also known as the STEM fields.

• An expanded and improved employment verification system that would confirm employee work authorization.

• Improved work visa options for low-skill workers including an agricultural worker program.

While there is not likely be any action this year, a recent poll shows that 70 percent of voters support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, 80 percent approve of implementing a better electronic worker verification system and 78 percent support passing DREAM Act legislation. These healthy numbers reflect broad based public support for Congressional action on immigration. If you agree contact your Congressman and Senator.