These are strange times – I certainly have never seen anything like it and even my father does not remember the economic situation being so dire. Job losses, bankruptcies and foreclosures are up while 401Ks, financing and consumer spending are down. One may ask, how can comprehensive immigration reform even be considered in times such as these? The answer is simple, we need it. Our immigration system has been broken for many years and recently things have become even worse. Enforcement has become the cornerstone of the system by most agencies involved in the immigration process. Customs and Border Protection, US ICE, USCIS and US DOL have all become enforcement-centric and aggressive in their treatment of US employers and foreign-nationals whether they are in legal status or not. We all agree that enforcement of immigration laws is important. However, efficiency of the process, respect for foreign-nationals entering the country and adequate medical care for detainees in government custody should be of paramount importance for any civilized country.
According to an article on realclearpolitics.com: “Given last year’s election results, major immigration reform ought to pass in 2009 – but first, the incoming Obama administration has to decide what to do about some draconian policies put into place by the Bush administration.”
Any reform will need to be carefully thought-through and should not be harmful to US workers. The Obama administration believes in the need for CIR and understands that reform will not be easy, but is both practically necessary and politically wise given that anti-immigrant candidates have lost big time in the last two elections.