Blog Archive

Every day, minors are brought over the border to the United States illegally by their parents, who hope to provide their children with better lives than they would be able to in their home countries.  Many of these children successfully make it across, settle down, and for years go undetected.  In the meantime, they go to public schools, learn English, become accustomed to American life and culture, and end up having the same dreams and hopes as any child born in the United States.  This includes the dream of getting a college education.

Any many illegal immigrants do just that.  They work hard, apply, and get accepted to universities across the nation.  However, all the hard work and big dreams could be quickly taken away, for something as minor as a traffic violation.  This is because DHS has a program known as 287(g) that allows local sheriffs to handle federal immigration law enforcement, part of the strict immigration legislation intending to prevent the presence of illegal immigrants in the country.

In order to help minors who have been in the country for years, have gone to school, and have not had any problems with the law, proposed legislation known as the Dream Act is intended to provide illegal students with a path to becoming legal.  Officially called the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act has met much opposition, however, by those who see illegal immigrants as a burden on society, especially minors whom have benefited from the American public education system.  But, those in supportive of it say it is only right to allow minors, whom often times had no part in the decision making process to enter the country illegally, should not later be punished when they have done everything they can after getting to the country to be worthy citizens and contribute to the country they call home.

Retired Supreme Court Justice O’Connor weighed in on the recent Senate bill passed in her home state of Arizona.  While acknowledging that Arizona does have a legitimate concern with immigrants illegally crossing the border from Mexico, she still finds that the Bill goes to far.  The bill, on its face, allows state police officers to question a person’s residency status, and if information is not adequately provided the person can be imprisoned and even deported.  While many argue that this law only does what federal law already allows federal agents to do, O’Conner looked beyond the face of the law when expressing concern that it would allow officers to target people who look Hispanic, thus legalizing racial profiling.  She has no doubt that the law will be the subject of extensive litigation over application and the constitutionality of the law.

Republican and Democratic Senators announce a framework for immigration reform.

March 18th 2010 Senators Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) stated “the American people deserve more than empty rhetoric and impractical calls for mass deportation” in an editorial in the Washington Post. The proposal calls for substantially increased work place enforcement, mandatory biometric information in the form of a new card for all workers and the creation of a program to admit temporary workers.  Requirements are payment of fines, community service, english testing, payment of back taxes and admission of guilt for being undocumented.  It is unclear how many of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants would be able to adjust to a legal status.  The proposals also reinforce the United States policy of favoring immigration for skilled workers.

This effort must be seen in the context of other national political battles, in particular health care reform.  Without compromise on health care reform it is unlikely that comprehensive immigration reform will happen this year.