published Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

Future of immigration reform uncertain

This lame-duck session of Congress might be the Dream Act and immigration reform’s best chance of passing, but no one is sure what to expect.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., started the process to bring two versions of the bill immediately to the Senate floor.

But Senate Republicans on Wednesday threatened “to block virtually all legislation until expiring tax cuts are extended and a bill is passed to fund the federal government,” according to The Associated Press.

“I think it’s very likely that the Dream Act will come up before the end of the year, but it’s difficult to predict what will happen when it does come up,” said Stephen Fotopulos, executive director of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition.

WHAT IS THE DREAM ACT?

A bill that would provide conditional legal status to persons who:

* Were brought to the U.S. before age 16, have lived here continuously for at least five years and are younger than age 35 when the act is passed;

* Have good moral character;

* Have earned at least a U.S. high school diploma or a general education development certificate;

* Can adjust status from conditional to permanent legal residence by earning a higher education degree, completing at least two years in a program for a bachelor’s degree or higher, or by serving in the military at least two years.

Source: Senate Bill 3962



PDF: Senate Bill 3962

Both Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said they support a vote on the Dream Act before the new Congress takes office in January.

The Dream Act is a bill that would provide legal status to young illegal immigrants who graduate from a U.S. high school and pursue college or the military. It failed to reach a vote in September after Senate Republicans blocked the Defense Authorization Act, which had the Dream Act as an amendment.

Some lawmakers, such as U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga., say they will vote no because they believe the bill rewards illegal behavior.

Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn., who will leave Congress at the end of this term, said a lame-duck session is not the proper time to address the Dream Act.

“[It] is a highly controversial bill that ignores the rule of law by setting in motion an amnesty plan for people living in this country illegally,” he wrote in an e-mail. “The people have just spoken. While the issue of innocent children of illegal immigrants is very important, the 112th Congress should be the one to debate this bill and other immigration reform measures.”

And U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., said the Dream Act doesn’t have a chance of passing before the end of the year.

Any immigration-related bill “has the potential to launch a much bigger debate on all aspects of the immigration issue and would take weeks to debate,” Sheridan Watson, the senator’s spokeswoman, wrote in an e-mail.

“He does not believe there is enough time or enough votes for Senate passage of immigration reform in the little time remaining this year,” she added.

Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., executive committee member of the Immigration Reform Caucus, said the issue will be “high on our list of priorities” in the 112th Congress.

“As we tackle our immigration problems, we must look for more effective policies to secure our borders. I stand firmly committed to working with my colleagues in Congress to bolster our border security, expand the E-Verify program, end the ‘anchor baby’ conundrum, and fundamentally reform legal immigration policies to keep our citizens safe,” he wrote in an e-mail.

Still, some in the region hope there will be action on immigration reform.

“It’s still possible that it may come up [although] the likelihood of it is still being debated,” said Jerry Gonzalez, executive director of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials.

Jeff Brown, chairman of the Hamilton County Democratic Party, said he doesn’t understand why immigration reform and especially the Dream Act haven’t moved forward.

“It’s not inviting more people to immigrate, it’s about taking care of some of the problems and issues we already have in particular taking care of the young people who are here at no fault of their own,” he said.

Starting next year, he said, Republicans have the responsibility “to jointly govern and it is just as incumbent on them as it is on anybody else to get it right.”

“I’m just afraid there’s going to be too much political grandstanding about the issue and not the attention paid to real talk and real solutions. This has been dragging on for at least my generation and still no resolution to it,” he added.

Continue reading by following this link to a related story:

Article: Political parties trying to attract Hispanic voters

about Perla Trevizo...

Perla Trevizo joined the Chattanooga Times Free Press in 2007 and covers immigration/diversity issues and higher education. She holds a master’s degree in newswire journalism from Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid, Spain, and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Texas. In 2011 she participated in the Bringing Home the World international reporting fellowship program sponsored by the International Center for Journalists, producing a series on Guatemalan immigrants for which she ...

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ann said...

why should they be rewarded for their crimes,it doesn;t matter if the children are innocent,it sure doesn't work for the american we are guilty until we can prove our innocent and they don;t give americans a chance if you mess up they want to throw you in prison and say your no good it makes me sick the way americans are treated,they get hooked on drugs that illegals smuggle in here then we send them to prison and reward these illegals children i don;t think so,all americans should be in the streets of washington marching and protesting this i hope the congress and senate won't even get this on the floor then maybe they will see putting harry reid back in was a flop,he is no good for america

December 2, 2010 at 12:47 a.m.
clinthardwood said...

We're the only country in the world that isn't supposed to protect our borders. Progs go on about the "right to self-determination", except when its our country that wants to determine itself.

December 2, 2010 at 7:01 a.m.
inquiringmind said...

Immigrants are the history of our nation and the source of its strength.

Why would you deny citizenship to a young person who is willing to join and serve in our armed forces for your benefit, or who is willing to go to and graduate from high school and college and become a productive member of our society for your benefit??

By the way, Ann, until George the Lesser forced the Patriot Act on us, we had always been innocent until proven guilty (and possessed a number of other "inalienable" rights) in the USA.

December 2, 2010 at 8:20 a.m.
rolando said...

That needs clarified, inquiringmind.

LEGAL immigrants -- and assimilated ones, at that -- are our strength. They are also called Americans.

And presidents do not "force laws" on anyone -- Congress does that. [Vetos can be overridden.] Presidents, such as our current one, use Executive Orders to do the same thing. But they are not laws, per se.

December 2, 2010 at 8:37 a.m.
clinthardwood said...

Immigrants are the history of all nations. Once again, myopic Americans (and myopic Europeans) of left and right imagine the U.S.'s situation as unique in places where it is not. People are always moving, settling, invading, defending. At the same time, the idea of a state, like it or not, involves defining borders and its people (that pesky "right to self determination"). History again and again shows that a nation meets its downfall when it no longer controls nor even wants to control the confines of its land.

December 2, 2010 at 8:38 a.m.
Wilder said...

"Immigrants are the history of all nations" In 2110, this is a lame, invalid agrument - we have technology now that didn't exsist a few decades ago. Comparing what is happening now to what happened a hundred years ago is comparing apples to oranges.

If the politicians, who are elected by the lower and middle classes in this country(do the math), represented the interest of the segment of society that elected them, we wouldn't be talking about this issue.

The politicians will always represent the interest of the much smaller upper class(who couldn't possibly muster the number of votes to elect them) - they have found that it doesn't require a lot of effort to manipulate the mostly uninformed majority of voters.

Carl Rove, a devout atheist, developed the strategy for manipulating the congregations of small churches - it is a common practice. Votes are votes - it doesn't matter how you get them, as long as you get them.

Don't be fooled by the people preaching that third world invaders can't be stopped - the politicans, from both parties, purposely allow it to happen.

Nothing will change until the people who do the electing are awakened to reality - which is not likely.

December 2, 2010 at 10:32 a.m.
clinthardwood said...

"Immigrants are the history of all nations" In 2110, this is a lame, invalid agrument - we have technology now that didn't exsist a few decades ago. Comparing what is happening now to what happened a hundred years ago is comparing apples to oranges."

And the role of technology on this topic is....?

At least explain what you mean by that.

December 2, 2010 at 11:11 a.m.
clinthardwood said...

I love this irrational superstition about technology that people with nothing to say use. If "you can't compare today to a hundred years ago", then all history is useless,the constitution is invalid, etc. Two important things you need to learn:

A. Laws, such as immigration laws, are weapons against the chaos of events. If a law is "irrelevent", then change it.

B. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

December 2, 2010 at 11:42 a.m.
Wilder said...

"I love this irrational superstition about technology that people with nothing to say use.."

Cannut, Rather than a rational discussion, your post are obviously designed to incite. That given, thanks for the opportunity to explain my point.

Do a search on Google, and it will instantly give you the stats for that particular search - for example, about 5,140,000,000 results (0.17 seconds).

That's about the same time it would require to search a database of legal residents. Other pertinent databases, like Social Security, could be easily linked and cross referenced.

The only people who would object to a national biometric ID card are those who have something to gain from not controlling who enters our country.

I don't know what your motives are.

December 2, 2010 at 2:15 p.m.
ann said...

to inquiring mind, sorry you are wrong and why should we reward border jumpers for going to school and joining the services,our own can not get the kind of breaks the illegals get so why should we call them innocent when their parents know it is wrong we have laws on this and i am saying they should be enforced,and as for george,no those rights were taken long before that,just get arrested and see how innocent you are until proven you will stay in jail or have to have a bond so if we were innocent till proven then why the jail ?why the bond?your like most democrats you don;t see what is right before your eyes maybe you like all the millions of tax dollars that go to keep up illegals and their children but i don't want my tax dollars spent that way,while their money is sent back to keep up that country,and their president has his two cents stuck into everything now,if their so well at things why don't they clean up their own country and go back.It is the ones who are legal that are assets to this country and they are true americans

December 2, 2010 at 3:40 p.m.
fairmon said...

A lot of ranting here. A lot in congress but none describe what is wrong with the current law. None say why current laws are not enforced. None have and this act does not say how we will secure our borders.

There are laws on the books now about the penalty employers of an illegal worker will be subject to but little done to enforce these laws. No jobs and free stuff at tax payers expense or drug business and immigration illegal or legal will not be a problem. If Americans won't do the work then let the work go undone or pay a decent wage and the job will be filled by a legal citizen.

December 2, 2010 at 11:40 p.m.
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