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Orange County Register article by Dena Bunis, Washington Bureau Chief – Under Obama, immigration reform may have to wait
i’m going to try and be more diligent about this ‘series’ i’ve decided to do. i guess my deadline is january 20th, when obama takes office and the news will be actually what he is doing, and not just predictions of what he will be doing. while the issue of immigration is often seen as being overshadowed by the financial crisis, and the talks about healthcare reform, there is not a dearth of articles talking about immigration not being discussed in the news. working at The Migration Policy Institute also helps.
“I’m not particularly impressed with raids on plants that grab a handful of undocumented workers and send them home, leaving the company in the position where it can just hire the next batch.” Obama said in a 2007 interview with the Des Moines Register. He is not going to work by the old, polarizing and reactionary rhetoric of nativism & ‘illegal’ immigrants that was vocalized during much of the Bush administration. While not completing villainizing or distancing employers, experts say the immigration agenda will shift to focus more towards holding employers accountable for hiring undocumented workers. The E-Verify program checks the work status of new hires through SSA and DHS databases, is supported by immigration restrictionists and reformers alike, and improvements to the system will most likely
lots of talk about Obama’s pick for Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, and what her history as governor of Arizona can spell out for immigration and border policy in the next administration. while she hasn’t advocated for full amnesty, she hasn’t put millions/billions of dollars into just building a fence, either (she’s famously quoted as saying, “show me a 50-foot wall, and I’ll show you a 51-foot ladder” . if anything, she will be pragmatic. Doris Meissner of MPI (!) has said Napolitano has been outspoken about the need for effective federal action to control the border, while stressing the importance of comprehensive immigration reform.
throughout much of the bush administration, the priority was on the war, and immigration was put on the back burner. the hope with obama was now the issue of immigration wouldn’t be ignored, but would be promptly addressed, as well as matters of healthcare, the economy, and education. but now with the economy getting more grave and dire, experts say immigration reform may again be pushed back. but it needs to be done before the 2010 election where it can become a contentious election issue, and passing any sort of reform will be even more difficult. but late 2009 is the only conceivable time right now to address immigration, and if Republicans start running on tough immigration platforms for the 2010 elections, the issue may, again, need to be postponed until 2011 and/or Obama’s second term.