IMMIGRATION REFORM 2013: 8 THINGS YOU WERE TOO EMBARRASSED TO ASK.
Immigration reform 2013 is back now that Congress has returned from recess. Although the Syrian crisis and the looming debt ceiling showdown will surely dominate the news as well, lots of people want to see immigration reform happen. But because we all have lives and this stuff is super complicated, here are a few things you need to know about reform but maybe felt embarrassed to ask.
1. When was the last time we had immigration reform on this scale?
That would be 1986, the bipartisan Simpson-Mazzoli Acct, also known as the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which was signed by President Ronald Reagan. It legalized about 1.6 million people, according to some estimates.
2. How many undocumented people are in the country right now?
Estimates indicate there are about 11 million right now.
3. Why all the fuss for a Latino issue?
Immigrants without papers are not all Latinos! The top 3 countries are Mexico, El Salvador and Guatemala — but then — the Philippines, China and Korea. So it’s not just a “Latino issue.”
4. What’s the Gang of 8?
It’s a fancy name for the group of senators, bipartisan of course, who crafted the immigration bill currently under consideration. They include Democrats Michael Bennet of Colorado, Dick Durbin of Illinois, Bob Menendez of New Jersey and Chuck Schumer of New York. Republicans include Jeff Flake and John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Marco Rubio of Florida.
5. What does “punitive” mean in this context?
It means it’s enforcement-heavy, such as: 3,500 new border agents, $7 billion in drones and fencing, biometric data, a 90% rate of apprehensions before anyone gets a green card, fees for people who will be eligible and a 13-year path to citizenship for anyone who can get through the administrative gauntlet.
6. What about the DREAMers?
Well, according to some estimates about 1 million of them will have applied for a special deferred status created just for them. They will also be a part of this reform, being able to apply for resident status in 5 years.
7. How much enforcement do we need?
This is a political question, but the short version is that the border is more secure than it’s ever been, so much so that federal courts are clogged up with immigration cases.
8. What happens after reform?
Well, given that enforcement didn’t fix the problem after IRCA and this bill is stepping up enforcement even more without creating an alternative worker immigration system that will meet our needs, I’d say that we’ll be right back here in 20 years or so!!
Hope this was helpful, you can always reach me on Twitter @SaraChicaD to comment on anything I said, please share and thanks for reading!
Copyright 2013 by Sara Inés Calderón.