Is Immigration Reform Possible in "Lame Duck" Session?

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A broad coalition of faith-based groups and community organizations that supports comprehensive immigration reform is calling on Congress to address its concerns about this issue in the lame duck session.

"No action is a vote for the way things are," said Dr. Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, on a conference call with reporters this week. "No action is a vote for de facto amnesty. No action is abdication of federal responsibility."

Joining this call was Sen. Robert Menendez, D. N.J., who is seeking to bring together a bipartisan supermajority in the Senate to pass comprehensive reform. He noted that the lame duck session may be the best opportunity to pass comprehensive reform in the near future.

He called on members of Congress to put aside "political grand-standing" and to come together on an issue that has "generated a lot of talk but little action."

Unfortunately, many Republicans who either previously voted for reform or are current cosponsors of immigration-related bills have backed away from supporting their own initiatives.

Menendez said that Republican Party-authored enforcement-only proposals aren't enough to fix the broken immigration system. Reform must also address illegal hiring, but it should also provide the 11 million or so undocumented workers with a means to gain legal status, and "work their way to permanency residency." He also favors provisions that keep immigrant families together.

Some of the incoming Republican members of Congress seem unwilling to work in a bipartisan way to achieve a comprehensive bill, he added. He noted that during the campaign hostile anti-immigrant political discourse caused him to worry that many newly elected Republicans may favor political grandstanding over common sense solutions. "The reality is that we need a bipartisan effort in this. Unless we get some Republicans to join us, we won't move forward," he pointed out.

Hardline anti-reform Republicans who push "enforcement-only" measures will likely stand in the way of reform in the new Congress, Menendez hinted. "I think that that doesn't deal with the totality of the problem; it will only give us more of what we have."

"I hope that we can do this in 'lame duck,' but if not, if their are no Republicans who are forthcoming, then I just look at the numbers and the views of those who will be in critical positions and know it will be more difficult," Menendez said.

He stated that many Republicans are going to have to decide if their best political capital lies in some of the anti-immigrant sentiments expressed by Republican candidates during the campaign or in resolving a serious national issue.

The comments came the same day a coalition of business, religious and community groups in Utah formally rejected  efforts to pass Arizona-type anti-immigrant legislation. According to the a statement from the coalition that adopted the so-called Utah Compact, which includes Utah's Republican Attorney General, immigration enforcement should remain a federal priority and reform measures should provide a path for undocumented immigrants to be integrated into society. One conservative supporter of the pro-reform "Utah Compact" said, “Arizona-style laws amount to nothing but a ‘round them up’ and ‘starve them out’ approach – neither of them are ethical nor consistent with our conservative principles, and in no way will I participate in such policies."

The latter viewpoint likely results from observations of the campaign season and election results, especially in southwestern states. While several Republican candidates used harsh and racist anti-immigrant messages during their campaigns, these did not always resonate with voters. Notably, in neighboring Nevada, Tea Party-backed Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle routinely attacked Latinos and immigrants as part of her campaign. Her decisive defeat and the enthusiastic support Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., received suggests that Republicans may be hesitant to adopt the same tactics in the future.

According to exit polling released this week by America's Voice, an immigration reform advocacy group, Reid likely won at least nine in ten Latino votes in this election. The data showed that Latino voters played a huge role in preventing far worse election results for congressional Democrats nationally.

Photo by FibonacciBlue, courtesy Flickr, cc by 2.0

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  • I AM NOT SAYING DONT CLOSE THE BORDERS. I AM SAYING STOP THE HATE.

    Before you Scream and show Ignorance and Hate at least read the Immigration Law regarding Undocumented Immigrants.

    THE UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS ARE PAYING MORE TAXES THAN YOU THINK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    IMMIGRANTS AND TAXES:
    Q: “Is it true that illegal immigrants don’t pay taxes and drain our economy?”
    A: As Ben Franklin said, “Nothing is certain but death and taxes.” Like the rest of us, unauthorized immigrants pay taxes on their property and anything they buy. More than half of them have taxes taken out of their paychecks, but because our immigration system is dysfunctional, these taxes are paid under false Social Security numbers. We need a new regimen in which we know who is paying taxes and can ensure that no one is getting a free ride. The only way to do that is to pull unauthorized immigrants out of the shadows and get them on the right side of the law.
    Three state-level studies have found that unauthorized immigrants pay more in taxes than they use in benefits. In Iowa, unauthorized immigrants pay an estimated $40 to $62 million in state taxes, while they and their employers contribute an additional $50 million to $77.8 million in federal, Social Security, and Medicare taxes from which they will never benefit. In Oregon, unauthorized immigrants—who are not eligible for any state benefits—pay between $134 million and $187 million in taxes each year. Finally, in Texas, the State Comptroller found that, without unauthorized residents, the gross state product in 2005 would have been $17.7 billion less.

    The economics of immigration, Stephen C. Goss, the chief actuary of the Social Security Administration and someone who enjoys bipartisan support for his straightforwardness, said that by 2007, the Social Security trust fund had received a net benefit of somewhere between $120 billion and $240 billion from unauthorized immigrants.

    That represented an astounding 5.4 percent to 10.7 percent of the trust fund's total assets of $2.24 trillion that year. The cumulative contribution is surely higher now. Unauthorized immigrants paid a net contribution of $12 billion in 2007 alone, Goss said.

    Previous estimates circulating publicly and in Congress had placed the annual contributions at roughly half of Goss's 2007 figure and listed the cumulative benefit on the order of $50 billion.

    The Social Security trust fund faces a solvency crisis that would be even more pressing were it not for these payments.

    Adding to the Social Security irony is that the restrictionists are mostly OLDER AND RETIRED WHITES from longtime American families. The very people, in other words, who benefit most from the Social Security payments by unauthorized immigrants.

    The Undocumented Immigrants pay the exact same amount of taxes like you and me when they buy Things, rent a house, fill up gas, drink a beer or wine, buy appliances, play the states lottery and mega millions .

    Posted by Facts, 11/16/2010 1:23pm (7 years ago)

  • It is unbelievable where the Moral, Ethics, Dignity stand of The American people the political blood sport must have an end with the bigot of Brewer or the Reps. Spiced with lies to take advantage of every undocumented. With Black hair and Braun skin color. Who sue her, for using in Arizona the money from undocumented Immigrants of 28.9 Billion ???
    The two face of the law of first
    the United States without legal status is a civil violation, not a crime. But take everything from undocumented. Now throw them out and take the last the rest what there was working for. Steel from the poor who try to build a new life is that the American face to the world? It looks bad from any tourists view
    For every detainee the incarceration payment is $90.00 the little what they have is taken away and now the report of sexual abuse on immigrants the gov problem between 12 - 18 years to clear the immigrant status it is despicable
    How Much Does it Cost to Deport 392,000 People?
    By Elise Foley 10/7/10 4:08 PM
    Roughly $9.2 billion, according to figures from a March report on the per-immigrant cost of each step of the removal process. The numbers are estimates, of course, but it is still useful to illustrate the high costs behind the record number of deportations the DHS announced yesterday.
    There are a number of costs involved in the removal process. First, illegal immigrants must be apprehended, which requires local law enforcement, Border Patrol and a number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement programs and offices. Next, they must be detained, and then processed through the legal system. Finally, illegal immigrants must be transported back to their native countries. Here are the per-person costs listed in the Center for American Progress report released in March:
    Apprehension: $18,310
    Detention: $3,355
    Legal processing: $817
    Transportation: $1,000
    In total, that’s $23,480 for each of the 392,000 people the U.S. removed last year, or $9,204,944,000.
    Of course, many of those deported were convicted criminals, meaning they would have had imposed high costs had they remained in the country. While numbers vary from state to state, on average it costs at least $60 per day (or $1,800 per month) to incarcerate prisoners.


    Posted by Max9010, 11/16/2010 10:08am (7 years ago)

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