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Obama Hails Bipartisan Plan to Overhaul Immigration

January 29, 2013 By: seeta Category: Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Immigration, Intersectionality, LGBTQ, Poverty, White Privilege

From NYT:

There were hints in Mr. Obama’s speech of potential fault lines in the debate. He declared, for example, that there must be a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants “from the outset.” That would seem at odds with the assertion by some senators that citizenship must be tied to tighter border security.

Although Mr. Obama did not say it in his speech, the White House is also proposing that the United States treat same-sex couples the same as other families, meaning that people would be able to use their relationship as a basis to obtain a visa.

Mr. Obama offered a familiar list of proposals: tightening security on borders, cracking down on employers who hire undocumented workers and temporarily issuing more visas to clear the huge backlog of people applying for legal status in the country.

His speech, on the heels of the bipartisan Senate proposal, sets the terms for one of the year’s landmark legislative debates. These are only the opening steps in a complicated dance, and the effort could still founder, as did the effort to overhaul immigration laws in the George W. Bush administration.

But the flurry of activity underscores the powerful new momentum behind an overhaul of the immigration system, after an election that dramatized the vulnerability of Republicans on the issue, with Mr. Obama piling up lopsided majorities over Mitt Romney among Hispanic voters.

Obama Will Seek Citizenship Path in One Fast Push

January 14, 2013 By: seeta Category: Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Immigration, Intersectionality, Poverty

From NYT:

President Obama plans to push Congress to move quickly in the coming months on an ambitious overhaul of the immigration system that would include a path to citizenship for most of the 11 million illegal immigrants in the country, senior administration officials and lawmakers said last week.

Mr. Obama and Senate Democrats will propose the changes in one comprehensive bill, the officials said, resisting efforts by some Republicans to break the overhaul into smaller pieces — separately addressing young illegal immigrants, migrant farmworkers or highly skilled foreigners — which might be easier for reluctant members of their party to accept.

The Early Success of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Policy

October 30, 2012 By: seeta Category: 2012 Election, Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Immigration, White Privilege

From CAP:

In just the first two months, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services received and accepted for processing 179,794 deferred-action requests. That’s 18.9 percent of the 950,000 immediately eligible individuals. The Immigration Reform and Control Act program reached this level, at the earliest, in the fourth month of application filings; only 3.07 percent of the 2.2 million immigrants who were potentially eligible under that law filed an application in the first month of the law’s enactment, and by the third month as few as 13.3 percent of potential applications had been filed. High participation rates early on in a policy’s implementation are crucial because they send a positive signal that other eligible people should apply. So far, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals has done just that. This is an indication of the first benchmark being reached.

Similarly, the high number of filings and the more than 158,000 appointments made for biometric interviews suggest that the second benchmark for success is, at least at this initial stage, also being met: The process for requesting deferred action is streamlined and transparent. Even more suggestive of success in this regard is that in the first two months of the program, 4,591 requests for relief have already been granted. As of October 10 no applicants had received letters of rejection. These positive outcomes signal to other eligible participants who may be hesitant to register with the government that it is safe to come forward and apply. The efficiency and transparency of the process thus encourage more immigrants to apply and increase the potential for the policy’s overall success.

With the Department of Homeland Security putting the first two benchmarks for success on a positive track, policymakers should be considering how to ensure that the program’s successes are taken advantage of as much as possible. These immigrants have the potential to contribute to our economy and society for years to come.

Because the current Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy is an administrative act of discretion, however, its impact is limited. A report released this month by the Center for American Progress and the Partnership for a New American Economy, for example, estimated that passing the more permanent DREAM Act—the ultimate legislative solution for these immigrant youth—would add a total of $329 billion to the American economy by 2030. This economic boost would occur because adjusting the legal status of young people to permanent residents leads to higher earnings and subsequently creates a ripple effect throughout the economy.