According to an article on  “Tens of thousands of immigrants and activists rallied here on Sunday, calling for legislation this year to give legal status to millions of illegal immigrants and seeking to pressure President Obama to keep working on the contentious issue once the health care debate is behind him.”

Given the contentious debate over health care it was surprising that the bill passed.  President Obama, by taking a hands-on approach, was able to rally his team and get something accomplished.  A bi-partisan solution in the House was not possible, so the Democrats had to move this bill along on their own.

The health care debate taught us a lesson that can be applied to other big ticket legislation such as immigration.  Time should not be wasted on political games and the immigration issue should be tackled because promises were made by this President and fixing our broken immigration system is what the President genuinely believes is best for America.  By getting things done while the Democrats hold a majority in both Houses of Congress and control the White House, President Obama, and the Congress will earn the respect of voters – whether or not they agree with the action.  In Washington, results matter.  Voters are understandably unhappy when nothing gets accomplished.
If CIR can be passed before the mid-term elections, voters can then decide to either keep their Congressional representatives or vote them out without the issue being tossed around like a political football.  It is heartening to see politicians do what they feel is right rather than what is politically expedient.

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According to a column in the Washington Post by Senators Schumer and Graham:  “Our immigration system is badly broken. Although our borders have become far more secure in recent years, too many people seeking illegal entry get through. We have no way to track whether the millions who enter the United States on valid visas each year leave when they are supposed to. And employers are burdened by a complicated system for verifying workers’ immigration status.”

Some of the ideas set forth by the senators are promising however, one must wonder what the odds would be of significant immigration reform passing in light of high unemployment.  Those familiar with our nation’s immigration system almost unanimously agree that it is badly broken.  If Congress and the White House are committed to doing the right thing, it would be to enact CIR.

The political cost-benefit analysis is tricky.  On the one hand, there is the bloc of Latino voters, most of whom support CIR.  On the other hand, unemployed Americans may oppose the legalization provisions proposed.  However, legalizing those who are already in the US and working illegally does not take a job away from an American.  In fact, if employers who hire undocumented workers are violating the country’s wage and hour laws and that becomes more difficult for them to do – Americans may in fact get some of these positions in the end and be paid a fair wage for their time.

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