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There’s no better time for Congress to tackle immigration reform

LatinaLista — News that President Obama plans to address immigration reform as early as May has been met with the expected responses — happiness and dread.

Happiness by most Hispanic groups and advocates that finally Obama is making good on the promise that attracted so many Latino voters to his side.
Dread by the opposition who know that it’s not going to be so easy this time to make it go away. Already, the opposition is mobilizing and trying to subvert Obama’s announcement by saying that it’s a terrible time to address immigration when the economy is so bad.
Yet, that is exactly why there’s no better time than the present to deal with immigration reform.

Undocumented immigrants, who comprise about 5 percent of the labor force in this country, expand the pool of labor. In turn, their work helps create more products and services to fill demand and boost the economy.
It’s the kind of stimulus that is natural and desirable.
And undocumented immigrants contribute in other ways too:

Since they pay payroll taxes, they’re helping to bankroll Social Security and Medicare but won’t get to participate in the programs because of their immigration status.
“From our standpoint, this is not a top fiscal issue,” said Pete Sepp,spokesman for the National Taxpayers Union.
Experts note that illegal immigrants also spend part of their paychecks in this country — for food, clothes, furniture, living expenses and other things — all of which contribute to economic growth.

And growing the economy is the best way to address the current economic crisis, isn’t it?

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  • Liquidmicro
    April 9, 2009 at 11:09 pm

    Undocumented immigrants, who comprise about 5 percent of the labor force in this country, expand the pool of labor. In turn, their work helps create more products and services to fill demand and boost the economy.
    If they are already here and already doing this as you advocates proclaim, then where is the benefits going to come from?? How is “there” work going to expand anything when they are losing jobs faster than most due to business closing up shop, it’s the economy? There Social Security payments go into separate fund, not the actual SS fund. Whats going to happen once they become legal and then start getting tax refunds, further adding to costs on to the rest of us? Out of the 12M here Illegally, only upwards of 7.5 – 8MM were actually working, the other 4M + are going to do what? As far as CIR passing this time around, I wouldn’t be putting all my eggs into one basket. Immigration, both legal and illegal, are tied to the economy, as the economy continues to decline, your outcome becomes wishful thinking.

  • RF
    April 10, 2009 at 9:08 am

    I completely agree on this; however, I have a question maybe somebody can help me and my family, what if we are legal and we are looking for ways to stay here and continue our lifes. I am a father of two and we all four came seven years ago when my younger son was 8 months old, we have spent all of our savings paying lawyers and maintaining a visa, but we want to grow here, is there a way we can do that? Is there a way to expedite our residency without having to pay a LOT of MONEY to companies to sponsor us? Is there a project of law or a provision within this reform that will cover so many people in our situation?

  • Panchito
    April 11, 2009 at 11:52 pm

    All the illegals have lost their job and have returned home. If you cannot compete with the handful of illegal immigrants that remain, than you are a “LOOSER”! Quit blaming them and look at yourself in the mirror.
    your best option is to go home. Entire families whose immigration status is questionable are being thrown into jail and left there indefinitely. Half our country believes this is justified. So why would you want to take this huge risk?

  • Horace
    April 12, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    Sorry Marisa. A rational person would say that the prosperous times prior to the stock market crash held more hope for so-called CIR. Only the delusional would say that there’s no better time for Congress to tackle immigration reform. It is a great time for the anti-amnesty crowd, however. Faced with declining employment and ever-growing anti-amnesty fervor, the amnestas are like a small platoon of soldiers on drugs, hallucinating to the point that they’ll take on an army of opposition. The result is the inevitable rout or annihilation. The last stab at anmnesty resulted in failure and its chance for success hasn’t improved with age, in spite of our Obamination. Amnesty is a political minefield even a majority Democratic congress will not cross. (And what will you punish them with, voting Republican?) Expressions of wishful thinking like those found in this blog have never accomplished anything, except to put the deluded on a temporary high.

  • Marisa Treviño
    April 13, 2009 at 10:51 am

    Horace, only an irrational person, or one who is adamantly against any kind of CIR reform, or someone who doesn’t want to acknowledge the intertwining dependence between illegal immigration and the state of the economy, would say this is not a good time for the government to tackle immigration reform. Those who are truly delusional are those who are trying to convince the rest of the population that delusion doesn’t lie with them but everyone else!

  • Evelyn
    April 13, 2009 at 11:34 am

    Wonderful, this will get the economy going again. It’s nice that those who count have admitted what we alwayse said. Immigrants are tied to the growth of our economy. The work they do provides jobs for others.
    Immigration Can Speed Economic Recovery
    April 10, 2009
    by Diana Furchtgott-Roth
    It’s welcome news that President Obama will turn his attention to immigration reform this year, as was announced on Wednesday by deputy assistant to the president Cecilia Muñoz. Economic recovery will happen more quickly if both high- and low-skill immigrants are permitted to enter the United States and work legally.
    Two years ago, when Congress was considering comprehensive immigration reform, both President Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers and the Congressional Budget Office, headed by Peter Orszag, an economist closely identified with the Democratic Party, estimated that the benefits of additional immigrants outweigh the costs. If Congress allowed more immigration, then American taxpayers would come out ahead financially.
    Yet, after Congress refused to pass President Bush’s plan to allow most undocumented workers to receive work visas and wait in line for citizenship, the Bush administration’s immigration policy deteriorated into a series of arbitrary raids on different companies, rounding up undocumented workers and deporting them, in many cases separating husbands and wives, parents and children.
    We can do better. Although the unemployment rate reached 8.5 percent last month, the jobs are going to come back, and, as has been the case in the past, native-born Americans will want jobs that are different from those of immigrants, according to economics professor Giovanni Peri of the University of California at Davis.
    Congress needs to overhaul immigration law and create an expanded temporary worker program with a path to citizenship, along with more verification to prevent workers from working illegally, and monitoring of tourists and students so that they do not overstay their visas.
    A rational immigration policy would have numerous advantages.
    • Undocumented workers would pay taxes to federal and state governments rather than to grey-market check cashing services.
    • Payments for health care through insurance could be collected more easily, rather than burdening hospital emergency rooms with immigrants without health insurance.
    • Foreigners who want to work here could pay the government for visas rather than pay smugglers for unsafe, illicit transportation.
    • Improvements in security. Legal visas and bank accounts would make it far easier to identify and track potential terrorists, dubious financial transactions, and those who simply overstay visas.
    A rational immigration policy would solve several real problems the United States faces with regard to immigration. The international economy is tremendously dynamic; our immigration system is not. Temporary workers must spend months applying for admission, and due to the pile-up in April of every year, may not even get a visa.
    Few low-skilled workers have a legal and reliable method to enter this country and work legally, and few Americans want to do the jobs, such as fruit picking and cleaning, that these workers want to pursue. And even high-skilled workers trained at U.S. colleges and universities, often at taxpayer expense, might have to wait years and spend thousands of dollars to become permanent residents of the nation.
    Mr. Obama might want to consider transferring the authority of setting quotas from Congress to the Labor Department. The Labor Department already has the presumptive authority to judge whether demand for foreign labor is justified, through its foreign labor certifications. If the Labor Department is allowed to determine whether or not a foreign worker would displace a native one, it could also be allowed to calculate visa quotas.
    High-skilled workers educated in America ought to be able to stay; otherwise, our investment in their education becomes lost to another country. If the Labor Department determines that a foreign worker would not displace Americans, that worker should not be barred from entering the country due to an arbitrary quota. And people who want to enter this country in order to work in jobs Americans are not willing to take ought to have an easy, legal way to do so.
    Mr. Obama has the opportunity to craft a sensible and dynamic immigration system. All Americans should wish him success.
    This commentary appeared in on April 10, 2009.
    Diana Furchtgott-Roth is a senior fellow and director of Hudson Institute’s Center for Employment Policy. She is the former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor.

  • Horace
    April 14, 2009 at 5:47 am

    Marisa said: “Horace, only an irrational person, or one who is adamantly against any kind of CIR reform,……..”
    The only thing that CIR benefits is the illegal immigrants themselves. As others have said, we are already more generous in our immigration policies than the rest of the world.
    I can’t see how it would help this country to surrender the benefit of citizenship to those who’ve thought that they were entitled to enter just because we haven’t had an impenetrable fence or haven’t put an army on the border to keep them out.
    Advocacy such as yours is plain wrong, as it pits the interests of non-Hispanic Americans and Hispanic Americans against one another, and sides with foreigners who hold allegiance to Mexico. Your advocates are Mexicans, not applicants for citizenship. Many never intend to become citizens, but are being used by political organizations like LaRaza and MALDEF who see them as ballot box stuffers for their agenda. Even you look at illegal aliens as sources of future Hispanic power. If power is essential to gain control to the benefit of your Latinos, then the tax pie is what you’re actually after. You seem to lack an understanding of how it could possibly wrankle middle class Americans when they see the possibility that millions of Mexican poor could eventually become the controllers of the Treasury through Congress. As one famous economist once said, the first thing the poor do when they come to power is to vote themselves a bigger portion of the tax base.

  • Horace
    April 14, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    Irrational, Marisa? How are my arguments irrational, as my logic is perfect? Call me anti-Hispanic hegemonic, but not irrational. This country is about to lose its diverse nature through the dominance of a people whose only claim to such a position is by its ability to procreate and infiltrate our society through open borders. People such as yourself are making irrational, i.e. emotional claims based solely on charity, not intellectual prowess or skill. And others in this blog have argued that simply being hardy enough to drag themselves through the desert or sneaky enough to elude our law enforcement agencies is a qualifier. And I don’t remember those as being tests of civic virtue in our country. Talk about an irrational argument! The argument that we must be forced to accept the reality of foreign squatters on our soil because they are somehow irreplaceable is irrational. It’s laughable because there are billions of illiterate and unskilled people just waiting for an opportunity to work in this country. And why should we settle for the least talented of the poor from Mexico or any country, when there are better educated poor in India and China? No, Marisa, you haven’t provided any good reason why Hispanics should be more qualified as the heirs to the American legacy than other ethnic or racial groups.

  • Horace
    April 18, 2009 at 10:20 pm

    Obama realizes that the laws exist and that he’s sworn to uphold them? Anything else is dereliction of his oath of office, making his subject to impeachment.
    More change we can believe in? It must be ok with all of you advocates though, as they will be targeting employers.
    Napolitano Says ICE Raids to Target Employers
    Thursday, April 16, 2009 8:47 PM
    By: Rick Pedraza
    Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says raids by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents will continue once again, but will focus on specific targets, including workplace employers “who consistently and intentionally use and exploit the labor market for their own gain.”
    Napolitano says there will be no halt to arrests of illegal workers their investigations uncover, but ICE agents will primarily target employers found to be in violation of labor laws, Los Angeles-based La Opinión reports.
    Earlier this month, Napolitano ordered ICE agents to cease all workplace investigations into illegals while new ICE guidelines for operational protocol were being reviewed by DHS.
    At a rally in San Francisco last month, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., condemned ICE raids, touted amnesty and a path for legalization for illegal immigrants, and told the crowd of illegal aliens and advocates for immigration reform that enforcement of existing immigration laws on illegal aliens is “un-American,” the Associated Press reports.
    Increasing the focus on businesses and executives instead of ordinary workers signals a change in tactics for ICE, a senior department official tells the Washington Post.
    “ICE is now scrutinizing these cases more thoroughly to ensure that [targets] are being taken down when they should be taken down, and that the employer is being targeted and the surveillance and the investigation is being done how it should be done,” the official tells The Post.
    Napolitano’s moves foreshadow the difficult political decisions the administration faces in its efforts to combat illegal immigration and legislate immigration reform.
    Work-site raids –– a signature of the Bush administration to combat illegal immigration–– have enraged the Latin American population, community leaders, civil liberties and religious groups, and immigrant advocates, which has put pressure on President Barack Obama to stop them.
    Napolitano’s plan has DHS agents focusing on prosecuting criminal cases of wrongdoing by companies and enforcement of civil infractions of worker eligibility verification rules.
    “There is a supply side and a demand side,” a DHS official tells the Los Angeles Times.
    “Like other law enforcement philosophies, there is a belief that by focusing more on the demand side, you cut off the supply

  • Karen
    April 25, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    Hrace: “As one famous economist once said, the first thing the poor do when they come to power is to vote themselves a bigger portion of the tax base.”
    What do the rich do? Oh yeah, they start wars and get trillion dollars handouts, er, I mean bailouts. But Horace never complains about them, and instead demonizes the victims of NAFTA. Because doncha know, farmworkers and gardners are the ones taking all of our money.
    And the irony of him calling them “squatters” was not lost on me.

  • Horace
    April 26, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    It’s a fact that only 5 percent of taxpayers pay sixty percent of the taxes that support the running of the government. About 38 percent of households have zero or negative income tax liability at all. Check
    Guess which category illegal alien poor fall into.

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