In an issue important to Florida and the rest of the nation, the Democratic-controlled Senate passed a comprehensive immigration reform package in June 2013, but the effort remains stalled in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. At this point, it appears the House wishes to take a more piecemeal approach to immigration by writing separate laws to deal with the larger issue. However, many inside and outside of Washington, D.C. feel there is a short window for meaningful reform once the primary season has passed for House members in conservative districts.
If you're like most people here in Florida, you more than likely would do anything for your family. While to most of us this might mean helping a family member move or loaning them some money, to immigrants, this might mean petitioning the government for family visas for relatives who may still be in other countries.
While residents here in Florida wait for the much anticipated immigration reform bill, other changes in the law have been peaking the attention of many immigrants in the state. This includes the two decisions recently made by the U.S. Supreme Court about same-sex marriages. In the Supreme Court’s ruling, the justices determined that the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutionally prohibited same-sex couples from receiving federal benefits. The court struck down the Clinton-era bill, finally allowing same-sex couples the same federal benefits that heterosexual couples enjoy.
Some residents here in Florida may be familiar with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993. For those who may not be familiar with this act, it was established to make registration and voting easier for all Americans. But several states have challenged this federal law, including Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Kansas and Tennessee, with another 12 other states contemplating similar actions. These states are challenging the law by requiring voters to prove U.S. citizenship prior to voting--something the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to be unlawful this month.
As the nation moves ever closer to immigration reform, advocates are now urging politicians to carefully consider the language of the new bills; especially when it comes to LGBT families who may find that they are not included in many of the sweeping reforms.
As Congress continues to debate immigration reform, countless families across the nation, including many here in Florida, must helplessly standby while their loved ones are taken away by federal agents and processed for deportation. While most people recognize the strictness in the law, few are able to stomach the thought that these families' lives are changed forever as a result of these laws being in limbo at this time.
As readers of our blog probably already know, immigration reform has been on the minds of the nation since even before the presidential election. And with the futures still unknown for more than 1.6 million unauthorized migrants living in the United States at this time, it's a topic that have a dramatic impact on so many people. But where is Congress at with immigration reform and will Americans see change anytime soon?
The end of March was supposed to be the self-imposed deadline the "Gang of Eight" gave for having a completed immigration reform bill. But with the nation fast moving into the third week in April, it's clear that this deadline has been pushed back. But as Sen. John McCain explained to reporters recently, he believes that he and the remaining legislators may have finally ironed out all of the kinks and are almost ready to present the proposed bill to Congress.
With most of the nation's attention firmly focused on the current gay-rights cases facing the U.S. Supreme Court this month, few attention is being paid to an equally important matter that could affect millions of immigrants in the United States. We're talking of course about immigration laws; and with the Obama Administration continuing to press forward on the matter, immigration reform could occur within a few months.
Newspaper accounts and the blogosphere are rife with commentary on bipartisan proposals for immigration reform that are being considered on Capitol Hill. The commentary seems to change hourly, although the legislative process is likely to take some time as the proposals are debated and marked up in coming weeks.