The other reasons why CIR is on stall

Comprehensive immigration reform is still stalled. Look to the border and the increasing security measures present there as one of the reasons.

The lawsuit against the Arizona immigration law is a trigger point topic for many Americans. Some are for it because they feel the Obama administration has done nothing to promote comprehensive immigration reform (CIR). Others are against it, as they feel this type of lawsuit and the attitudes involved will be detrimental to CIR’s safe passage in the long-term. Despite all of those debates, the real question still remains: When is comprehensive immigration reform going to get passed?

The latest holdup appears to be the ever-increasing security at the border. While it seems to be almost an afterthought in speeches or other conversations lately, this topic really needs closer scrutiny, as the administration is devoting more than three-quarters of its time to enforcement.

In fact, statistics show that the U.S. is on track to deport a record number of illegal immigrants. This seems like a bit of a conundrum doesn’t it? Deport them and give them legal status when they come back. It is confusing, to say the least.

Here is something else that confuses people. If they are so quick to deport and step up border security, how does that speak to the chances of having a CIR bill passed? What is more important here, deportation or integration and an increased tax base?

The administration seems to be sending mixed signals about what its real aim is when it comes to reforming the immigration system. One thing is for sure, CIR is going nowhere fast and many illegal immigrants are going somewhere quickly. And while all of this is going on, it’s easy to wonder about some of the legal ramifications here in terms of human rights.

While deportations will be at an all time high very soon, those people who will be forced to go home number even less that those who are in limbo; the legal wasteland of asylum cases and deportation hearings that have not been heard. As of June 2010, just about 248,000 cases were pending.

Here is even grimmer news. The average time it takes to wrap up immigration cases is about 459 days – which is a year and three months. In some states, such as California, immigrants have a 640-day wait, and one location in that state indicates the backlog is at least 1,300 days.

Of course, there are other reasons why the U.S. has this enormous backup in the immigration system. Stepped up enforcement, which involves things like auditing businesses that hire immigrants; the expansion of programs like Secure Communities (police target illegal immigrants with criminal records) and illegal immigrants targeted for possible gang ties all prolong the problem. While there are certainly some bad apples among illegal immigrants, the same may be said of the American population as a whole. Just look to the prisons for verification.

In the meantime, the pressure for CIR continues to mount because people want to see the system overhauled and a clear path delineated for illegal immigrants to obtain legal status. However, in the deafening absence of political agreement, the debate and the bill’s passage is still stalled. This leaves stepped up enforcement as the politically correct alternative at the moment. Does one hand really know what the other one is doing?

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