Streams

Immigration Reform Can't Wait

Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - 11:29 AM

Reshma Saujani

On Monday, President Obama said in a radio interview on Univision that he would push for overhaul of our immigration policies after the midterms. Some strategists have argued that this is the best way for the Democrats in to shore up its base and divide the Republicans before the 2012 presidential race.

This campaign season, the controversial Arizona law brought immigration reform to the forefront of our national conversation and highlighted a key distinction between the parties. Tea Party candidates across the country pledged to fight for similar laws if elected. On the Democratic side, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who is in his own tough reelection battle, attached the Dream Act to the defense authorization bill a few months ago (unfortunately the Dream Act, offers a citizenship track to hardworking, undocumented children who graduate from US high schools and pursue college or military service, did not pass).

Some immigration activists argue that it will be harder to accomplish anything on immigration after 2010. A political tsunami will force President Obama to scale back his immigration agenda because he will likely lose some moderate Republicans who were supportive of comprehensive immigration reform. The new GOP class in Congress will probably take a hard turn to the right and have said that they favor tougher border controls before a pathway to citizenship.

The deep partisanship on this issue cannot get in the way of revamping our broken immigration system. Our elected officials, on both sides of the aisle, need to roll up their sleeves and overhaul our immigration policies for the sake of our competitiveness, our national security, and our country.

Any immigration reform plan must achieve four objectives: First it must remove restrictive barriers for highly skilled entrepreneurs to spur job creation and innovation. The current work-visa system is outdated and counter-productive. We should lift the cap on H1-B and EB-5 work and investor visas and pass the "StartUp Visa" program

Second, we cannot fix our economy without fixing our broken immigration system. By creating a fair pathway to citizenship we would boost our GDP by $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years.

Third, as a New Yorker, I believe we must empower our law enforcement authorities with the resources needed to secure the homeland. In 2010, New York's share of the Department of Homeland Security Transit Security Grant Program fell by 28 percent. This is unacceptable.

Fourth, any immigration plan must protect our families and our neighborhoods. Today, 3.1 million American children have at least one parent who is in the US illegally. We need to pass the DREAM Act, and we must pass the Uniting American Families Act, which would allow US citizens in same-sex couples to sponsor their partners for legal immigration status.

If the Republicans stand in the way of comprehensive immigration reform, I guarantee voters across this country will kick them out in 2012.

Reshma Saujani ran an unsuccessful campaign in the Democratic primary against Rep. Carolyn Maloney in New York's 14th district, which covers Manhattan and Western Queens. A community activist and a legal scholar, she is a graduate of the University of Illinois, received her Masters in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and her JD from Yale Law School.

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Comments [11]

News Buff from Arkansas

There are already some republicans and democrats are waiting for being kicked out by supporting tax cut to millionaires ( most senators are millionaires ) .

*Please remember that if tax cut is not extended, there will not any tax hike, it is just going back to the normal tax rate. It is like a store having a promotion sale on certain product over Christmas. After Christmas, the promotion is no longer available.

Nov. 21 2010 10:40 AM
Susan from Lynnwood

I believe any persons who have legally entered this country as refugees with their parents should automatically be made citizens-and it should be retroactive.

Cambodians, for instance, were welcomed by the USA as their own government was murdering them. Some kids have been here since they were a few years old yet are denied automatic citizenship. The citizenship test is near impossible to pass.

I feel the Dream Act should only include the military option which would then cover an education. I think that's one of the biggest injustices-that my American citizen son can serve this country but not the many refugees. They want to serve but are not eligible without citizenship.

Illegal aliens could be given the same opportunity or face deportation. Step up or out!

I

Oct. 29 2010 04:37 AM
Leroy Dislikes COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM from Herndon

I do not apprpve of COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM

BUT

BUT

But If we don't get one approved immediately , then pretty soon I and the rest of us will be working in a sweat shops manufacturing merchandise for all the 3rd world countries. I realise the ball is no more in our court. But what do I do, I'm alone who is going to hear me out. I'm surrounded by fool living in fear and scared to face the facts.

Oct. 29 2010 03:00 AM
Don from Seattle, WA

I am opposed to immigration "reform" (amnesty). This country is overpopulated, and 21 million Americans are out of work.

Oct. 28 2010 08:12 PM
Janet Liu

America needs a few high skill immigrants (but only when our economy recovers enough to provide jobs for citizens). It does NOT need a lot of completely unskilled people who will inevitably become a burden on the taxpayers. 40% of people in the US already pay no income taxes because they don't make enough. If we legalize millions of illegals, almost ALL of them will join this 40%. So they will be yet more poor people for us to support. We are not infinitely rich. In fact, we are circling the drain, ready to become another Greece. We can't afford it. Dreamsters go home and live your dream in your own country. What the hell are you doing here, anyway?

Oct. 28 2010 09:59 AM
bronx from carr properties bronx

good my landlord keeps apartments unrented as safe houses for peopple he
brings over this is so unfair to the people who do things by the book i would report him but i have a heart

Oct. 27 2010 10:01 PM
Doris D from USA

Immigration reform has to wait and that is why we Democrats are bailing on the party. Show us the jobs to support 30 million more workers and the 25 million Americans that can not find full time jobs and we can consider amnesty, until then we will fight it. .

Oct. 27 2010 06:23 PM
Max9010

GIVING FACTS A FIGHTING CHANCE
ANSWERS TO THE TOUGHEST IMMIGRATION QUESTIONS
IMMIGRATION POLICY CENTER
OCTOBER 2010
ABOUT THE IMMIGRATION POLICY CENTER
The Immigration Policy Center, established in 2003, is the policy arm of the American Immigration Council. IPC's mission is to shape a national conversation on immigration and immigrant integration. Through its research and analysis, IPC provides policymakers, the media, and the general public with accurate information about the role of immigrants and immigration policy on U.S. society. IPC reports and materials are widely disseminated and relied upon by press and policymakers. IPC staff regularly serves as experts to leaders on Capitol Hill, opinion-makers, and the media. IPC is a non-partisan organization that neither supports nor opposes any political party or candidate for office. Visit our website at www.immigrationpolicy.org and our blog at www.immigrationimpact.com.
TABLE OF CONTENTS

WHY WE NEED COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM
Americans are justifiably frustrated and angry with our outdated and broken immigration system. The problem is complex, and a comprehensive, national solution is necessary. Politicians who suggest that the U.S. can deport its way out of the problem by removing 11 million people are unrealistic. The U.S. needs a fair, practical solution that addresses the underlying causes of unauthorized immigration and creates a new, national legal immigration system for the 21st century.

Immigration reform must be rational, practical, and tough: It is unacceptable to have 11 million people in our country living outside the legal system. To enhance our security, we must have smart border and interior enforcement, target the real causes of violence along the border, and prosecute those who exploit immigrant labor and those who profit from smuggling. Additionally, unauthorized immigrants should be required to come forward to legalize their status, pay back taxes, learn English, and pass criminal background checks. Finally, we must create sufficient legal channels to support the level of immigration our country needs in the future.

Oct. 27 2010 03:16 PM
Halibut from NY

"I believe we must empower our law enforcement authorities with the resources needed to secure the homeland." You gotta love it. What exactly does this mean? Typical. "o,yes, we have to secure the homeland,. but we shouldn't deport anyone". Gimme a break.

Oct. 27 2010 02:56 PM
Peter from Michigan

It is indeed that we need to fix our broken immigration system by Democrats and Republicans and it is agreed that any immigration reform plan must remove restrictive barriers for highly skilled entrepreneurs to spur job creation and innovation. The current work-visa system is outdated and counter-productive. We MUST lift the cap on H1-B and EB-5 work and investor visas and pass the "Start-up Visa" program.
No matter what Immigration is NOT only about Illegal Immigrants. We have lots more to fix in our broken system.Let's work on it now.

Oct. 27 2010 02:38 PM
Peter from Michigan

It is indeed that we need to fix our broken immigration system by Democrats and Republicans and it is agreed that any immigration reform plan must remove restrictive barriers for highly skilled entrepreneurs to spur job creation and innovation. The current work-visa system is outdated and counter-productive. We MUST lift the cap on H1-B and EB-5 work and investor visas and pass the "Start-up Visa" program.
No matter what Immigration is NOT only about Illegal Immigrants. We have lots more to fix in our broken system.Let's work on it now.

Oct. 27 2010 02:37 PM

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