Category: Archive

Hope, but

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

The Obama White House pointed a finger towards the sky to see where the wind blows on immigration reform this week just ahead of President Barack Obama’s trip to Mexico.
Administration officials said the president was following through on Obama’s commitment on the campaign trail to address comprehensive immigration reform, but the White House warned advocates not expect any quick movement on the issue.
White House Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, told reporters that reform was not imminent,. “I don’t think he expects that it will be done this year,” he said of the president.
The main spur for a renewed effort to secure reform immigration is coming from Hispanics who broadly supported candidate Obama.
Most experts on immigration reform believe any changes or new laws will not be created bilaterally between the U.S. and another country. The undocumented from Europe, Ireland included, are not expected to be treated any differently from the undocumented from Latin American countries.
A member of congress who has long taken an interest in the immigration reform issue told the Irish Echo, under condition of anonymity, that any effort to achieve a special bilateral dispensation for the undocumented Irish would not be achieved.
“The old days of a Morrison visa, or a special pass for the Irish, is just not going to happen. It was a one time only opportunity,” he said.
The Obama approach will be similar to the one pushed on Capitol Hill in 2007. That effort was supported by the Bush administration and proposed a path to citizenship, with certain requirements, for those already in the U.S. illegally. That bi-partisan approach was ultimately stopped when the McCain/Kennedy reform bill came to grief in the Senate.
Presidential adviser, Dan Restrepo, told reporters last week that despite the injured U.S. economy, President Obama would try and “fix” the immigration system with two overriding principles.
“He believes very firmly in the humane treatment of immigrants in the United States, while enforcing the immigration laws of the United States,” said Restrepo.
In a conference call with reporters, pro-immigrant advocates hailed the Obama administration’s nascent discussion of the reform issue. David Kallick of the Fiscal Policy Institute said the current horrendous economic climate should not be an impediment to immigration reform, and legalizing the undocumented would mean more revenue as families came out of the shadows to pay taxes and become full citizens.
“Some people have wishful thinking with the idea that maybe that if all the undocumented vanished there would be more jobs for Americans. Well there might be more jobs as farm workers, but the idea of mass deportations just is not real,” he said.
The Director of the Immigration Policy Center, Angela Kelley, noted that the political climate had changed since the last attempt at immigration reform in 2007.
“We’ve seen a politics game changer,” she said. “Of the 22 House of Representatives races in 2008 where immigration was a pointed issue, only two races went to the candidate who favored restrictive immigration reform,” she said.
President Obama has pledged to make a major speech on immigration in May.
Meanwhile, Obama received significant support for the reform effort Tuesday from the leaders of the two main national labor organizations, including AFL-CIO president John Sweeney.

Other Articles You Might Like

Sign up to our Daily Newsletter

Click to access the login or register cheese