Promising Signs that Immigration Reform may pass in 2014

The debate over passing an immigration bill has ended in a deadlock going into the end of 2013.  Both the Republicans and Democrats have not made the proper compromise that will allow for immigration reform.  The most highly debated topic regarding immigration reform is allowing a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States.  Democrats have rejected every bill proposed by the Republicans thus far because they did not have a clear path towards citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

Although immigration reform has been considered dead by many political figures due to the uncompromising nature of Congress, there are signs that progress may be made in 2014. One sign that there may be progress made in the coming year is the recent passing of the budget deal.  The Government shutdown for 16 days starting on October 1st and as a result many federal offices were forced to shut down.  No one was certain when the standoff between the House and Senate would end but there was plenty of pressure from the people of the United States to pass a budget to end the shutdown.  Due to mounting pressure and public outcry, the Congressional Republicans gave in and conceded defeat on the Wednesday 16th, 2013.  This showed that Republicans are willing to concede after staying their ground on certain matters to show their constituents that they are indeed flexing their muscles.

Another sign that Immigration Reform may make progress in 2014 comes from a top ally of John Boehner, Rep. Tom Cole.  An article in The Hill has Cole predicting House Republicans may vote on multiple reform measures in 2014:

With the caveat that the House will not vote on the Senate-passed bill, Cole envisions a situation where Boehner allows a vote on a couple or all of the four-House-Judiciary Committee-passed measures on immigration reform/border security.

Noting that Boehner has made it “abundantly clear” that he’d like to move immigration bills, Cole said that “we just saw a budget deal that made progress that brought people together from both sides from very different perspectives and I suspect that can be done on immigration as well.”

Boehner had once declared that he would not allow Republicans to get drawn into compromise talks on immigration.  Cole has now said that Boehner wants votes on GOP measures on immigration.  He also said that some sort of compromise between Republicans and Democrats is possible in the wake of the budget deal.

Source: Washington Post, “The Morning Plum: Immigration reform coming in 2014?,” Greg Sargent,
December 20, 2013

Source: The Hill, “GOP congressman: Immigration reform can happen in 2014,” Molly K. Hooper,
December 20, 2013

Source: NY Times, “Republicans Back Down, Ending Crisis Over Shutdown and Debt Limit,” Jonathan Weisman and Ashley Parker,
October 16, 2013

Nancy Pelosi Publicly Slams Fellow Democrat Obama over High Deportation Rate

There are an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States.  Deportations of undocumented immigrants have reached a record high since President Barack Obama has taken office.  Immigrants who have no current or prior criminal record contribute to this record number of deportations.  Advocates for non-violent immigrants who are deported state that the government does not show discretion when it comes to this type of deportation.

U.S. House of Representative Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has made headlines over the past few weeks.  She has been pushing for immigration reform that would allow a path to citizenship for the undocumented immigrants who live in the United States and have no criminal background.   On December 12, Pelosi joined dozens of Democratic lawmakers and advocates on the steps of the Capitol to push the House to vote on an immigration bill.

More recently, Pelosi slammed President Obama over his high deportation record.  Pelosi has always been considered one of President Obama’s supporters but she has taken a rare stance against Obama and his current record when it comes to the nearly 2 million deportations under his tenure thus far.   Pelosi said the record number of deportations seem to contradict the policy the Obama administration adopted during his tenure of applying discretion to the removal of undocumented immigrants.

In an interview with Spanish-language TV network Telemundo, Pelosi was quoted saying:

“If somebody is here without sufficient documentation, that is not reason for deportation,” Pelosi said, according to a transcript. “If somebody has broken the law, committed a felony or something, that’s a different story. And when those people are apprehended, they are deported.  So I don’t see any reason for these deportations.”

Pelosi has been more vocal recently and have captured the attention of the American media.  Pelosi has indicated that she has been raising concern for discretion over non-violent immigrant deportations for years.

“For years we have been after the administration not to have this disparity of discretion that is used. It’s wrong.”

Law makers have taken a Holliday recess but we expect the topic of immigration reform to heat up again in the upcoming year.

Source: FOX News Latino, “U.S. House Minority Leader Pelosi Slams Fellow Democrat Obama Over His High Deportation Record,” Fox News Latino,
December 17, 2013

Source: NY Times, “Immigration Advocates Undeterred as House Departs Without Action,” Julia Preston,
December 12, 2013

House Departs for the Holidays without progress in Immigration Reform

“Tis the season to be jolly”, but not for Immigration advocates who are undeterred as the House of Representatives take the rest of the year off without any progress on immigration.  Both the Republican and Democratic Party leaders said that they will return to the issue early next year.

Showing their determination and resiliency, On Thursday December 12th, Immigration advocates and supporters of an immigration overhaul held sit-ins in the offices of more than 170 Republican and four democratic lawmakers.  More than 1,000 advocates participated in the sit-ins that lasted about an hour.  Another group of advocates have been fasting in a tent on the national Mall to push the House to vote on an immigration bill.  House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi of California, along with dozens of Democratic lawmakers appeared on the steps of the Capitol to show support for the advocates.

“For us, it is inevitable that we will pass comprehensive immigration reform,” Ms. Pelosi said.  “For some, it is inconceivable, and they will stand in the way.  But we know it will happen, and we just have to shorten the time.”

Ms. Pelosi and her Democratic colleagues made it clear that they sided with the fasters.  Although the protest showed to have little effect on House Republican leaders but it did gain a wide following among Latino, immigrant and religious groups across the country.  If there were a bright side to all of this it would be that Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio has not been able to get the majority of his caucus behind legislation.

More than 11 million immigrants are in the United States illegally.  The Senate passed a broad bill in June that included a path to citizenship to those 11 million immigrants.  This bill is not popular amongst House Republican leaders and they criticized it as being an “unwieldy federal behemoth.”   There have been several immigration bills that were approved by The House Judiciary Committee but none that would offer legal status to illegal immigrants.  Democrats will not support other immigration bills presented by the House or Mr. Boehner unless such a proposal is included.

As the House and Senate take the rest of the Holliday season off, immigration advocates continue to fight for Immigration Reform that would allow a path to citizenship for immigrants here illegally.

“We want Speaker Boehner and the House leadership to know, as you go home and spend time with your families, that you are responsible for our families that are going to be separated by deportations this holiday season,” said Gustavo Torres, executive director of CASA de Maryland, an immigrant organization.

Source: NY Times, “Immigration Advocates Undeterred as House Departs Without Action,” Julia Preston,
December 12, 2013

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Deportation of non violent immigrants without discretion

Post 9/11 immigration enforcement has seen many families separated due to deportation.  One of the biggest misconceptions that foreigners have is that they think having an American-born child will guarantee their stay in the United States.   This is never the case.  Countless immigrants who are living in the United States are deported each day many of whom have American-born children.

A recent case in Michigan highlights the ordeal families with a member who is living in the United States illegally can go through. In this case, Albanian immigrant Cile Precetaj, a mother of three American children with no criminal record received a 24-hour deportation notice to report to Detroit Metro Airport for deportation.  The emotions that a person goes through, while facing deportation with the possibility of leaving his or her children behind can be painstakingly cruel.  Cile, like many immigrants who receive such 24-hour deportation notice, did not know what to do.  She defied the order.  Her story appeared in the Detroit Free Press which drew public outcry and sympathy for the mother of three.  Immigration authorities decided to grant her a one-year stay of removal after re-evaluating her case.  She can then reapply for more time when her temporary stay is up.  Cile Precetaj’s case was one that played out in the local and national media.  Immigration experts say that she was one of the lucky ones.

As a matter of fact, 45% of deportees in 2012 had no criminal record.  This percentage is based on a record 409,849 people who were deported, according to the U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).  These non violent immigrants with no criminal record are usually individuals with children who work hard to provide for their family and also pay taxes.   The number of non immigrants being deported continues to rise because U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement does not appear to use any discretion.  Non violent and violent offenders share the same label, “illegal immigrants”.

It is extremely important that you know and understand the law as it pertains to immigration.  If you or anyone you know needs help in regards to legally obtaining a visa to live or work in the United States then you are encouraged to call the Law Offices of Scott Warmuth.  We have three offices located strategically within Los Angeles County to help individuals with immigration law.

Source: USA Today, “Immigration reform is definitely undead,” Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press,
December 8, 2013