Immigration reform has been bandied around for some time. Last year saw various battles in the courts over state laws on immigration. The Obama administration has made policy changes in immigration enforcement, as this blog has discussed.
But, so far, comprehensive immigration reform has stalled. Efforts to get the DREAM Act, or a reasonable facsimile, have fallen short for years. Despite a logjam in Congress on the issue in the past, many commentators say that true changes to immigration law may be possible during the next Congress.
That optimism for potential reform measures making it through this time around seems to be gaining support in political circles. Many media reports have focused for some time on the politics surrounding immigration issues. But, recently, Florida Senator Marco Rubio provided an outline of what he believes should be addressed in the area of immigration reform.
That outline, which reportedly appeared in the Wall Street Journal, was acknowledged by White House press secretary Jay Carney, who says that the Obama administration believes that the proposal indicates that a bipartisan solution to changing immigration law may be possible.
Obviously, the outline presented in the media has not been sent through the rigorous debate that can still be expected on Capitol Hill. Similarly, the outline is not law, and may not in the end reflect what shape any eventual law will include. But, the stalemate that has seemed to overshadow discussions of immigration reform may show signs of waning.
The Obama administration has been seeking immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship for the country’s 11 million undocumented immigrants who reside in the country. Rubio’s proposal reportedly includes the idea of allowing a pathway for undocumented immigrant to apply for a work permit, and eventual citizenship through U.S. immigration law.
His proposal also addresses employment business immigration issues based visas, suggesting that immigration reform should offer more visas for high tech workers and other ideas for farm workers.
It is important to note that the Florida Senators proposal are ideas for potential immigration reform measures, and the administration has not provided a specific set of immigration reform measures. But the recent debate shows signs that, as Jay Carney phrased it, “bode well for a productive, bipartisan debate,” according to the Washington Post.
- The Washington Post, “Citing Rubio’s ideas on immigration reform, White House sees hope for bipartisan deal,” David Nakamura and Felicia Sonmez, Jan. 15, 2013
- Wall Street Journal, “Marco Rubio: Riding to the Immigration Rescue,” Matthew Kaminski, Jan. 14, 2013