Is lack of enforcement the real reason immigration reform languishes?

Immigration reform is somewhere on hold. Some say the shutdown is the reason and others say enforcement is the real issue.

When you step back and take a look at the progress, or lack thereof, of immigration reform, it is quite striking that there are so many diverse points-of-view on the subject. Many think it’s on hold because of the arguing over the government shut down and the ridiculous wrangling over political issues, rather than people issues. Other think it has to do with lack of enforcement.

History shows that over the years immigration laws were then, and are today, largely not enforced. Many think that had to do with the fact that the system, even when it was first put into place, was too wieldy to deal with and thus got ignored. Now, millions think any kind of proposed reform must address obeying the laws of the land and securing the border.

First of all, the border cannot be completely secured. It is too big to do so. Only portions of it can be patrolled, meaning if an illegal immigrant cannot get through at one checkpoint, they can always try another that is not secure. Securing what little of the border can be subjected to stepped up security is like tossing one bucket of water on a 100 million acre forest fire. It won’t make much difference in the long run. Enforcing our laws seems to already be happening —- think deportation raids —- so it is difficult to completely grasp precisely what the real issues are facing immigration reform.

And, therein lies the heart of the issue. It is not so much about helping people or making illegal immigrants legal, it is about who has the better party platform and how they likely won’t implement it, even if they do get elected or re-elected. It’s about posturing and manipulating. While it may look like the politicians are seriously considering the various issues, it should be kept in mind that those same issues have been percolating for more than two decades.

So while the government continues, oddly enough, to take a step-by-step approach to solving the immigration reform issue, with a sharp focus on enforcement, the clamour increases to get the omnibus-like immigration reform bill, put together by the Gang of Eight, signed and rolling. Why the behind the scenes step-by-step approach? It seems that those spearheading the piecemeal bills want enforcement in place first, because they do not want to rush into another Obamacare fiasco.

On the other side of the fence are those that say the real problem lies with no one wanting to take the bull by the horns and do something that would rock the voting boat. This likely has more to do with not wanting to drag people, kicking and screaming, into the future, where immigration reform would be a done deal, and not an afterthought languishing somewhere in limbo.

We all know there is a problem with immigration reform. Let’s just get on with it and fix it.

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