When Do They Quit Adding Bullet Points for CIR?

While it’s nice to want to add more points to the Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) bill, it has to end at some point.

Some places on the hill seem to think that comprehensive immigration reform will actually go ahead, or they wouldn’t be churning out more points to add to the big bill – as yet “not” passed and apparently not even in the running right now.

The chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Immigration Taskforce is still sending out encouraging letters to the president pointing out things that need to be done. Frankly, if the bill doesn’t already have some of these points in it, they have an even bigger problem than we once thought, for it’s a bit late in the game to be stating that there needs to be a route for immigrants to achieve legal status and citizenship.

How depressing that those who do wish to work to achieve changes in the immigration system need to write to their elected leader and point out that the process of reform should not be a casualty of election politics. And therein lies the real problem – the upcoming elections. What will happen to comprehensive immigration reform in the wake of an election that may change the political landscape and numbers?

Realistically speaking, if the House were serious about making changes – really serious, not just word of mouth serious – Congress would get the ball rolling and the bill passed. Mix in the prevailing political climate and this becomes a whole ‘nother can of worms. Those in “we’re about to go to election” mode are delicately avoiding the pressing reality of CIR, not wanting to upset any further apple carts. In the meantime, the bill being on the back burner does nothing for the benefit of those who are anxiously waiting for reform to get on with their lives.

For a mini-snapshot of what is “not” going on in the House and Senate lately, one only has to read online, watch TV or listen to the news to find out that the proposals are dead in the water; stalled. The House is now waiting for the Senate to get off its duff and do something.

In the meantime, the Task Force keeps churning out other principles they want to see that include protection of workers; the improvement of temp worker programs; supporting family reunification by clearing backlogs; eradicating same-sex partner discrimination; providing more alternatives to detention; actually having enforceable detention standards; supporting humane enforcement; ensuring due process reform; allowing access to higher education; and stamping out racial profiling.

While these goals are certainly worthy and need to be instituted, when will they pass? The current thinking is no one expects the House to take any action anytime soon. So, instead of having the House and the bill on “stall,” the whole nation is on stall as well. Well, most of the nation is on stall, Arizona has of course has passed one of the toughest immigration laws in the country. They aren’t waiting around for the other shoe to drop. The thing is, if Arizona can do it, so can other states, and that may be only a matter of time. What would happen to CIR then?

Sally Odell — Rifkin & Fox-Isicoff, PA is an immigration lawyer in Miami with immigration law offices in Orlando and Miami Florida. To learn more, visit http://www.rifkinandfoxisicoff.com.

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