2 Years Later, Immigrants Are Still Waiting on Immigration Reform

6/24/15 Center for American Progress

Via Flikr user 'OccupyReno'
Via Flikr user ‘OccupyReno’

On June 27, 2013, the Senate took a historic and bipartisan step toward an immigration system that works for all. By an overwhelming margin of 68 to 32 votes, the Senate passed S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act. That bill took a comprehensive approach to modernizing the U.S. immigration system, providing a tough but fair pathway to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants living in the country, updating the legal visa system for the 21st century, and making the largest and most expensive investments in border security to date. But the House of Representatives refused to consider it—or any other form of immigration reform—and S. 744 died a slow, painful death in the 113th Congress. In the 114th Congress, the only pieces of immigration legislation debated so far have beenenforcement-only bills, a far cry from the holistic solutions offered by S. 744.

So what would the country look like today had S. 744 become the law of the land? Put simply, millions of people would be on their way to permanent legal status and citizenship, thousands of families across the nation would be together, and the U.S. economy would see significant gains.

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Jeb Bush Goes Off Script To Promise Immigration Reform

06/16/15 Huffington Post

immigration marchNewly announced GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush went off script on Monday to pledge to pass immigration reform, in one of the most surprising moments of his announcement speech.

He wasn’t initially planning to mention immigration, which underscores how difficult an issue it is for him in the primary, as he tries to avoid charges of supporting “amnesty” without backing away from his record and being seen as a flip-flopper. The 2,000-word prepared remarks don’t include “immigration” at all.

A group of immigration advocates attended the speech in Miami wearing yellow shirts that spelled out “legal status is not enough.”

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Immigration Reform News: Hillary Clinton Aide Says Presidential Hopeful Would Expand Obama’s Executive Actions on Immigration

06/15/15 Latin Post

hillary-clinton-stateAn aide to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton promised that the former first lady would expand President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration if she is elected as the next Commander-in-Chief.

 While speaking on a panel hosted by Politico Friday night, Clinton’s campaign manager Robby Mook for the first time discussed Clinton’s stance on immigration in comparison to President Obama.

She “is advocating for going even further than President Obama on immigration, to stop deporting the parents of these DREAMers who are contributing to our economy, and are valuable members of our society,” said Mook during the panel, which was held at New York University in Manhattan.

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Broad Public Support for Legal Status for Undocumented Immigrants

6/04/15 Pew Research Center

Via Flikr user 'OccupyReno'
Via Flikr user ‘OccupyReno’

With immigration shaping up to be a major issue in both the final years of the Obama administration and the 2016 presidential campaign, most Americans (72%) continue to say undocumented
immigrants currently living in the U.S. should be allowed to stay in the country legally, if certain requirements are met.

These views have fluctuated only modestly over the past two years. As in prior surveys, a majority of those who favor granting legal status for people in the U.S. illegally – 42% of the public overall – say they should be able to apply for U.S. citizenship. About a quarter of the public (26%) say they should only be able to apply for permanent residency.

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DHS chief predicts victory in legal fight over immigration

6/8/15 The Washington Post

DHS Logo Photo by Flickr user Raymond Yee Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson predicted Monday  that federal courts will ultimately allow the Obama administration to proceed with its plans to shield millions of illegal immigrants from deportation.

“I believe we will prevail,” Johnson said of the legal battle that has forced DHS to halt preparations to move forward with President Obama’s controversial executive actions announced in November. A federal judge and an appeals court have temporarily blocked the measures, which would make up to 5 million undocumented immigrants eligible for deportation relief, including undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents.

“Our lawyers at the Department of Justice say we have the legal authority to do this,” Johnson said in a speech about the nation’s immigration system at Rice University in Houston. He added that the president’s actions, known as deferred action, are “the right thing to do. …Over and over again, in the life of this nation, there have been classes of people who, by virtue of their race, gender, religion, or nationality, exist on the margins of society and struggle to seek our acceptance.”

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Op-Ed, Juan Williams: GOP needs a new script on immigration

6/8/15 The Hill

immigration marchThe politics of immigration reform is kryptonite to the current Republican majority in Congress. Now the playing field is shifting to 2016 presidential politics.

With 18 months of Republican control of Congress remaining, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) could do their party a big favor by lining up the votes to pass an immigration reform package. That would change the campaign dynamic by allowing Republicans to take credit for ending the gridlock and making immigration reform a reality.

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Immigration Reform News: President Obama Says He Will Continue to Fight for Immigration Reform

6/6/15 Latin Post

obamaIn light of Immigrant Heritage Month, President Barack Obama promised to continue his fight to overhaul the country’s broken immigration system during his weekly address on Saturday.

“I’m going to keep doing everything I can to make our immigration system more just and more fair,” Obama said.

During the speech, the president talked about the executive action he took last November to protect up to 5 million undocumented residents from deportation. However, in response Texas led a coalition of 25 states in filing a lawsuit against the relief programs, arguing that it would hurt their states and violate the Constitution. Subsequently, a Texas district judge issued a temporary injunction in February that stalled the implementation of Obama’s plan while the constitutionality of the policy is being considered.

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Immigration Reform News: The Border Surge Pushes Backlog of Pending Immigration Court Cases to 2019

6/6/15 Latin Post

Other side of ImmigrationThe backlog in immigration court cases — which has been piling up for the last decade — has only gotten worse since thousands of undocumented children fled Central America and migrated to the U.S. last summer. As a result, thousands of cases involving undocumented immigrants seeking either political asylum or refugee status have been placed on the backburner, and are not scheduled to be heard until as late as 2019.

Federal reports released earlier this year show that the backlog in the already overburdened federal immigration courts increased by 68 percent since 2014, bringing the number of pending cases to an all-time high of 445,706 in April, reports The Los Angeles Times. That number now hovers at more than 450,000, according to Fox News Latino.

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Mexico Regrets U.S. Judge’s Immigration Ruling

Yahoo News, 2/17/2015 

Immigration_and_Customs_Enforcement_arrestMexico City (AFP) – The Mexican government on Tuesday lamented a US judge’s decision to block an immigration order by President Barack Obama that would have protected millions of undocumented workers from deportation.

“These programs are a fair migration remedy for millions of families and could strengthen the contributions of Mexican migrants to the US economy and society,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

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Why Did Obama’s State of the Union Ignore Latin America?

1/23/2015 Latin Correspondent

3004717988_06761377b7_zFor much of President Barack Obama’s time in office, he has been accused of ignoring his southern neighbors. Drawing down military involvement in the Middle East, along with continued crises in other areas of the world, has resulted in little public attention paid to Latin America for the past six years…

On the eve of formal talks between the two countries [Cuba and U.S.] beginning with a focus on migration policies, Obama was careful not to delve too much into the details of what normalization would look like. While much still needs to be decided, normalization of relations has the potential to be a huge part of Obama’s foreign policy legacy and his State of the Union address referenced this policy without risking the possibility of upsetting the start of talks…

While that approach can be seen as pragmatic, what was more surprising was the way the rest of the speech failed to address any other country in the region. In the past year, a number of major shifts have occurred in Latin America, but Obama did not touch upon any of them.

One the greatest omissions was perhaps Mexico. The past year has seen major upheavals in the country, particularly regarding the distrust between the Mexican state and its people. This past week, another scandal broke to further degrade this relationship when it was revealed that President Enrique Peña Nieto had bought his home in a resort town from the same developer that subsequently won billions of dollars in government contracts.

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