Is Comprehensive Immigration Reform Here Yet?

Comprehensive immigration reform has been a thorny topic of discussion for many years now. Things may be about to change – or will they?

The problem with the existing immigration system is that it is broken beyond the ability of band-aids. It really needs a good revamping from the ground up, but whether there is the political will and ability to accomplish that is the real question. In the meantime, the system limps along and does the best it can subject to the vociferous criticisms of those in the system, those who need to use the system, and those (such as immigration lawyers) who have to work with the existing system.

Comprehensive immigration reform looked like it might actually be accomplished, in bits and pieces, in 2007. You may remember the storm on the Hill about this proposed reform. Unfortunately, the serious flaws in the system are still there, as the reforms never got much further than the “table.” Oddly, the changes everyone did seem to agree upon, which were roughly 85% of the total proposed, were not passed. And so it sits on the shelf – waiting.

Is now a better time? Or better yet, is “now” the time? There are definitely still many issues that desperately need to be addressed, such as worker shortages, border security, visa policy, and worker verification systems. These problems are not going away and the longer they are left, the worse they will become.

What’s more disturbing, is the fact that since the big boys in Washington are not doing much about implementing needed reform, the powers that be in other local governments are making up the rules as they go along. While it is an attempt to “fix” the system as best as possible, it creates quite the conundrum. With ad hoc, “do it because we need it” kind of rules, it causes endless problems with constitutionality. It is also ending up with one rule or regulation contradicting another one. Obviously, these rules would be hard to apply with any degree of fairness.

It seems that many of the proposed “new” solutions may not be that effective for long standing problems. Some of the new systems contemplated have not necessarily been tested, which means any kinks or errors will need to be sorted out on the fly. And speaking of fly, one of the systems, the No Fly list, is a definite cause for concern in many respects including due process and civil liberties. It has an undeniable potential for discrimination on many levels.

Is the time now? If it is, there are still some very significant issues that need to be addressed. Whether they will be addressed at this time is anyone’s guess. We can only hope for reform, as we have hoped for it before.

Sally Odell – Rifkin & Fox-Isicoff, PA is an immigration lawyer in Miami with immigration law offices in Orlando and Miami Florida. To learn more about immigration lawyer in miami, immigration lawyer in orlando, immigration lawyer in florida, visit