Thursday, April 9, 2009

President Obama To Move On Immigration This Year

The New York Times reports that President Barack Obama will announce in May that he wants immigration reform this year. So he had promised in his political campaign and reiterated it as recently as last month in Costa Mesa, CA. But with the recession many thought reform would be pushed back to next year or later. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D, IL) and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus got busy and held prayer services through the country to push the president. The announcement, Obama hopes, will kick off a summer-long debate or discussion that will include Democrats and Republicans, employers and unions, and immigration advocacy groups. The president's own stated goal is to find a path to legalization/citizenship for the 12 million undocumented in the country similar to the Kennedy-McCain Bill which required a fine, background check and English. But because of the recession, his proposals will probably include tighter borders and an upgraded E-verify system to check on the legal authorization of immigrants to work. Nativist groups are already gearing up to run a campaign charging that Obama's proposals will take jobs from Americans. The timing for when legislation will go before Congress depends on the president's other major domestic priorities -- health care and energy policy.

Waukegan, a suburb of 91,000 north of Chicago, is already half Hispanic. But the incumbent mayor, trying to stem the growth, had favored an aggressive collaboration with ICE against undocumented immigrants. In a recent election the old mayor, Richard H. Hyde, was defeated largely by Hispanic voters. The new mayor promises to be friendlier to Waukegan's Hispanics. (See NY Times article.)

The Los Angeles Times reported on the case of a man held for a domestic dispute who was nearly deported -- notwithstanding that he was an U.S. citizen and a veteran. He was victim of bureaucratic foul-up -- they misspelled his name on his naturalization papers.

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