(The Verge) – Immigration reform is the new hot topic in Washington D.C.
With the GOP losing base with its Hispanic Voters and President Obama under fire for not acting on immigration reform during his first term, D.C. is abuzz with the overhaul of the current immigration laws.
There are eleven million people who reside in the United States undocumented. These people no longer have to live in fear of being deported, granted they do not have any previous record of criminal activity. The new bill is based on four legislative pillars:
- Creating a “tough but fair path to citizenship” after enhancing border security
- Reforming the immigration system in a way that builds the American economy and families
- Establishing an effective employment verification system which holds the employer culpable of hiring undocumented employees and combats identity theft
- Creating an improved program for new workers joining the workforce, while still protecting those who already have jobs.
A more detailed version of the plan is available here. There is still room for contention, however. Two main points of concern will be how the government plants to corroborate border security and grant citizenship to the undocumented eleven million. Hopefully these questions will be answered in March, when the senate provides the details for this bill.
How did the immigration plan come together?
A group of eight senators, four democrat and four republican, started working together on the bipartisan bill right after the most recent presidential election. The Democratic actors in the group are Senator Charles Schumer of New York, Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado, and Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois. And the Republican contributors are Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, Senator John McCain of Arizona, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona. They have given themselves a specific timetable to work on this bill; establish the framework of the bill by the end of January, lay out the details and specifications by the end of march, and pass it by July, which should allow the House of Representatives enough time to smooth out the fine lines so that President Obama can sign the bill by the end of this year, according to Dana Bash, the chief congressional correspondent of CNN.
Is compromise possible in Washington D.C.?
Much of the Latino vote went to Obama in November, which came as a shock to the GOP. The Hispanic support for the republican party is usually uncontested, however, the party has lost touch with their voters. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney really frustrated his Hispanic supporters when he supported a bill that would have resulted in the deportation of most illegal aliens residing in the U.S. This bill is an attempt for the GOP to be the voice of their supporters again. The Republican party can hope to have the Latino voters back on their side during the 2014 midterm elections with this bill under their belt. However, republicans are not the only ones hoping that this bill will put them under a rose colored light in the eyes of the Hispanic voters. Obama was reprimanded by his Latino supporters for not following through with his promise to reform immigration during his first term. During the campaign for his reelection, he halted the deportation of a few young undocumented immigrants. Both parties are in desperate need of the Latino vote, and surely, there will be compromises made by both parties in order for this bill to be passed and to rejuvenate the Hispanic base.
It is refreshing to see senators work together on a bill, in the interest of the people. Too often, the members of congress are shown bickering and steadfastly holding onto uncompromising views on policies and reforms. Perhaps this is the precursor to an efficient and active year from the legislators which the public have viewed so adversely in the past few years. This also demonstrates the power of the people. Many people seem to underestimate the amount of influence they hold over the legislators. Without the people’s support, government officials would not be holding their titles. The people have the control and there is much that can be done with it. For now, we shall concentrate on immigration reform and hope that this bill is the first of many future policies that congress can compromise and work together on until the end.
[Image above taken from: Google Images]