Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Palabra Final > Immigration > Proposed immigration bill is a start, but hopefully, there’s room for improvement

Proposed immigration bill is a start, but hopefully, there’s room for improvement

LatinaLista — News that Senators Reid, Schumer and Menendez would be releasing an outline today of an immigration reform proposal surprised many who had heard Sen. Reid repeatedly say that he couldn’t slate immigration reform on the senatorial docket because there was no bill.


A quick scan of what is now being referred to as the ”

Reid-Schumer-Menendez” bill shows a heavy Republican influence, courtesy probably of Sen. Lindsay Graham, who was working on the reform measure with Schumer but has now decided he doesn’t want to cooperate.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, left, is hoping to move ahead on both energy and immigration this year despite threats from South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham. (Source: AP)

In speculating over the debut of this bill, at this time, it’s pretty clear on page 4 what triggered this rapid response from Democratic Senate leaders:

…Because the federal government will have fulfilled its obligation to secure America’s borders, states and municipalities will be prohibited from enacting their own rules and penalties relating to immigration, which could undermine federal policies.

This bill definitely illustrates that Washington heard the outrage levied against Arizona for passing SB1070 and the threats and demands from immigrant advocacy and Latino groups across the country.

On the surface, this draft would seem — though far, far from perfect or complete — to be an honest attempt to begin addressing an issue that has served as the basis for campaigning politicians in securing Latino votes.

Yet, many political pundits are saying tonight that this is nothing more than a political ploy by Democrats who know that they don’t have the votes, even among their own party, to pass immigration reform.

Pundits say Democrats will try and when it’s seen that the votes aren’t there will say, “We tried!” and be done with it.

Even President Obama has prepared the Latino community for this scenario:

“It’s a matter of political will,” Obama said during a rare visit to the press section of his presidential plane. He added, “This is a difficult issue. It generates a lot of emotions. . . . I need some help on the Republican side.

“We’ve gone through a tough year, and I’ve been working Congress pretty hard,” the president said. “So I know there may not be an appetite immediately to dive into another controversial issue.”

Regardless of the motivation for the timing of presenting this draft, the scenario pundits present is a real possibility. So, how will the Latino community know if this gesture was nothing more than a means to pacify an increasingly agitated demographic outraged that their fellow Latino and Latina citizen hermanos and hermanas would have their Constitutional rights violated under SB 1070?

Simple — how hard Democrats fight for immigration reform.

Right now, Democratic leaders are issuing press releases applauding the bill released today and assuring the public that they will work on passing it.

Washington, DC – DNC Chairman Tim Kaine issued the following statement on the immigration reform proposal announced today in the Senate:

“I want to thank Senate Majority Leader Reid and Democrats in Congress for taking this step towards much-needed federal immigration reform.

Folks from both sides of the aisle agree that we cannot wait: we must pass comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level, rather than leave a broken immigration system that is not serving our country well. Democrats have taken that charge seriously and are tackling the problem head-on, working to achieve solutions to the difficult immigration issues facing our country, and this proposal is a good step forward.

“As the President has said, America has always been a nation of immigrants – we draw fresh inspiration and fresh energy from each generation of newcomers. But we are also a nation of laws.

That is why we must pass comprehensive immigration reform that emphasizes responsibility and accountability – that secures our border, penalizes employers who hire illegal immigrants, puts a system in place to bring immigrants within the law before they get in line for citizenship, and establishes clear guidelines for the future.

President Obama has made it clear that he supports such reforms, and that his Administration will work closely with legislators to develop a final bill. I hope that Congressional Republicans will join with the President and Democrats in Congress in seriously pursuing final bipartisan legislation that reflects those goals.”

However, the bill still needs a lot of work. This draft doesn’t address family reunification, DREAM Act students, unaccompanied minors caught in detention, etc.

In appearing on CNN’s John King’s show tonight, Sen. Menendez said he hopes that President Obama calls a bipartisan summit to bring both sides together to talk about immigration reform.

Given the past performances of GOP politicians at Obama-led summits, there’s no hope that progress will be made since the GOP has been very clear that this is an issue that doesn’t appeal to them unless it’s draconian in nature.

So, that leaves the Democrats as the last and only hope for an issue where the stakes have been raised to the point where saying “We tried” just won’t cut it.

Related posts


  • Chicano futute tense
    April 30, 2010 at 10:50 am

    From yesterdays Washington Post-
    President Obama said late Wednesday that “there may not be an appetite” to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws this year…”
    Political statements coming from high level politicians are often a lot like hieroglyphics which require deciphering in order to be understood.If I may,I’d like to give my translation of obama’s public statement.
    What I think Obama is really saying is..”FORGET about immigration reform this year..I’m washing my hands of the whole thing and throwing this hot potato over to congress..let them get burnt..”
    I think that this is a good example of a politician “passing the buck”..
    Effectually,the president and congress may have killed any immigration reform in the foreseeable future by avoiding it like the plague.In order to salvage Latino support for this November’s elections
    they will make a show and put on a charade of serious intent to deceive and distract Latinos as they have so far been doing.It’s just a new “rabbit” they’re pulling out of rahm emanuel and david axelrod’s magic hat of trickery.
    It appears probable
    the democrats will get their butts kicked really bad at the polls this November thereby changing the dynamics and balance of congressional power in favor anti-immigration republicans.There also exists a distinct possibility that obama will be a one-term president and that a republican will be elected president in 2012.This will likely result in immigration reform being buried even deeper in the hole it already finds itself in..
    Undoubtedly Immigration reform will happen some time in the future.. the questions are -how far in the future? and will it be an anemic reform demanding greater enforcement along with some type of insignificant guest worker program for agriculture as a conciliatory sop thrown to Latinos?
    Latinos are on the move now and it is a very good thing.
    If history is any guide then I would say that immigration reform and the Latino civil rights movement will follow a similar path taken by the great civil rights movements of the 60’s in terms of protest,civil disobedience and militancy.
    The question is whether there will be peaceful,rational, civilized, political, social resolutions to the problems?
    The civil rights movement occurred at a time when the USA was still an incredibly powerful economic engine.Despite all the problems of that time most people still had an underlying optimism and hope for the future of the country.The USA was a far different place and was in an almost totally different world at that time.
    Now,times are ominous,the world and american society have almost completely changed.. the devastation and importation of our industrial infrastructure,job outsourcing.China,India and Europe have risen as powerful challengers..we live now in an incredibly complex and interdependent global economy now compared to the 60’s..
    The American worker has been abandoned and sold down the river by corporate America.Americans are becoming more desperate,cynical and angry with the way things are going..
    History has shown that in times of crisis people look for scapegoats,become ever more withdrawn and tribalistic,more racist and less civilized towards minorities.
    I am of the opinion that Latinos will by necessity have to build unity and massive movements for civil and human rights in this hostile environment.
    WE Latinos have no other choice.. we must do what we have to matter the consequences or the outcome of our efforts.
    Latinos,as I said before are “on the move”..organizing and unifying.
    Latinos are doing the right thing.

  • linda
    April 30, 2010 at 10:50 am

    The dem’s are not serious about taking on another very unpopular bill in an election year. Pandering is preferred to losing the mountain or pacific west in the election.

  • Texan123
    April 30, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    The Federal Government has an obligation to do MORE than secure the Border. Penalties against illegal workers and employers need to be increased to Felonies.
    Americans DO NOT TRUST the Federal Government to stop illegal immigration. That is why local and State enforcement rights MUST be part of any “Reform”.
    How will the Feds round up and deport those who do not qualify for reform? How can adequate background checks be done on people who use false documents and multiple names?
    The fact that we have so many undocumented people in this country is proof that the Feds are not doing their job. They can not be trusted with sole enforcement rights.
    Yes. There is much room for improvement.

  • Michelle
    May 3, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    I will like to ask the president how will he feel if he had to be separate from his family how would he feel if he could not be with his wife and daughters for special occasions not being able to give them a hug and a kiss.
    all of us that are Americans citizens and are marry to someone that is not are being separated because of stupid laws and our kids are paying.
    We elected president Obama because he promise that he would work to pass an immigration reform in his first 100 days
    STOP separating families

  • Angel
    May 9, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    “I will like to ask the president how will he feel if he had to be separate from his family how would he feel if he could not be with his wife and daughters for special occasions not being able to give them a hug and a kiss.”
    Family separation is exactly what happens to people who violate our laws, whether they enter our country illegally or rob a bank. They suffer the consequences of getting caught. I’ve noted that don’t consider family circumstances when punishing bank robbers. Sorry, but having a family is not a free pass to avoid justice. Illegal aliens have been on notice for a few years now, leave our country and return to your homeland with your family members, or chance family separation. It’s a simple as that.

  • arturo fernandez
    May 10, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    Texan123 said, “Americans DO NOT TRUST the Federal Government to stop illegal immigration.”
    It hasn’t been in the best interest of the country to do so. Americans who hire illegal immigrants, and the American consumers demanding low prices that illegal immigrants make possible, have actually been telling the federal government that illegal immigration is ok. Not only is it absurdly expensive to stop it, it goes against American values for liberty and capitalism, things that have made this country great.
    Of late the fascists seem to have taken over the conversation. For example, on another blog (Immigration Chronicles), Texan123 wrote that Latinos should be put in concentration camps to be “rehabilitated”. It didn’t seem to bother any of the other anti-illegal-immigrant fanatics.

  • Texan123
    May 11, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    American citizens who are married to deported non-citizens are allowed to go visit the dearly deported.
    Every person who comes illegally to the U.S. knows what can happen if he gets caught. If family unity is so important, let the family go with the deported person.
    Life is full of choices. Make good choices, live in peace. Make bad choices, live in turmoil.

  • arturo fernandez
    May 13, 2010 at 8:52 am

    For many coming to the US, it has been the right to do. They have jobs, married US citizens, had American kid. They are now part of the US of A, as much as anyone. Our laws should reflect that. They should be given amnesty, so they can live in peace. It’s the least we can do.

  • arturo fernandez
    May 14, 2010 at 10:34 am

    should be “…the right thing to do.”

Comments are closed.