Immigration Reform: 7 Things You Must Know

It has been lurking in the news for years, but over the last ten months or so, immigration reform has truly stayed among the biggest stories.
Here’s everything you must know, based on my 18 years of experience in the immigration field and countless studies, both long term and in 2013:
1.  Immigration Reform passed the Senate already, but the House’s version will not resemble that bill.  The most likely group that the House would be willing to support are DREAMers, such as the youth currently in the US under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
2. Many politicians have pushed harder than at any time in their careers for reform.  Take Paul Ryan, for example. The 8 term Congressman and former Vice Presidential candidate supports a pathway to citizenship. And there are many more like him.
3. There is no way that reform will not pass without a commitment to greater enforcement. However, this reality strikes me as so obvious that it hardly bears mentioning, since we have already observed how the White House does its best to downplay closing in on 2 million deportations under the current President.
4. Reform must emerge chiefly from a bipartisan agreement.  That said, some in Congress, most recently Marco Rubio, Florida Senator and Gang of 8 Member, caution that more executive action  such as DACA could occur if reform does not go through the House.
5. Numerous sources repeatedly indicate that immigration reform will increase economic growth.
Tax reform advocate Grover Norquist put it best earlier this year: “This should be second nature for Republicans.”
6. Norquist, alluding to President Reagan – who championed amnesty and actually accomplished it in the 1980s – is absolutely right.  Leaders in business, clergy, and law enforcement echo these sentiments nationally.
7.  As we wait for Immigration Reform to pass Congress, it bears noting what has already occurred. Judicial rulings such as the 2013 Windsor case have made significant changes for some groups of immigrants – in this recent case, same sex spouses of Americans.

Written by: Harlan York

Immigration Attorney Harlan York is Former Chair, Immigration Section, NJ State Bar Association and Former Co-Chair, NY State Bar Association CFLS Immigration Committee. Mr. York appeared on National Television on CBS This Morning with Charlie Rose and Primer Impacto on Univision, as well as Telemundo, NBC, and PBS. He was honored as First Ever Immigration Lawyer of The Year in NJ by Best Lawyers.

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