What happened to immigration reform?

Among the many promises and priorities of the Obama Administration was immigration reform. If you’ve been watching the national policy conversation you’d think that health care reform was trumping all other priorities, except maybe the economy and stimulus.
In early August President Obama told Latino journalists at the White House that he hopes to have legislation drafted by early 2010. This is later that many had hoped, and if the health care battle is any indication, it’s not going to be an easy fight.
We’ve also been through this struggle before, albeit in a very different political climate. The failed immigration reform attempts in 2006 and 2007 have left a bitter taste in advocates mouths. The bills that were eventually negotiated left little to support and failed accordingly.
Meanwhile, New America Media reported yesterday that “the number of criminal prosecutions initiated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement rose during President Obama’s first five months in office.” In addition, the controversial immigration program 287g has been extended, which gives ICE authority to local police officers. E-verify was also extended, a program that allows employers to confirm employees immigration status, but advocates say it’s a faulty system that is creating “false positives” and resulting in flagging documented workers.
It’s hard to pit one priority against the next, but as our immigration system waits for a long overdue reform, immigrants in the US continue to suffer the consequences.

Join the Conversation