Immigration reform legislation, one of the surest paths to reducing racism in America by removing anger and disdain toward minorities, was unveiled in the Senate on April 16 and immediately criticized by both liberals and conservatives, leaving its fate uncertain.
"This has something for everybody to hate," said Republican Sen. Jeff Flake.
Concern is evident with some liberals about the citizenship path the bill proposes, citizenship would take 13 years. During the first 10 years, immigrants would not be eligible for federal benefits, and would live here in a provisional legal status. Immigrants would have to pay $2,000 in fines as well as hundreds more in outstanding taxes and fees. No one with a felony conviction or more than three misdemeanors would be eligible for citizenship, and no one who entered the United States after December 31, 2011 could apply for it.
The citizenship path is also dependent on various border security “triggers” first being met.
Some conservatives criticized the bill as providing amnesty for people currently in America illegally. They also felt that the bill opens a floodgate to immigration that could cause wages of U.S. workers to plummet.
Essentially the bill would shift the American immigration system from emphasizing family ties to emphasizing worker skills or employment opportunities.
President Barack Obama has made immigration reform a top priority in his second term. “This bill is clearly a compromise, and no one will get everything they wanted, including me,” Obama said. “But it is largely consistent with the principles that I repeatedly laid out for comprehensive reform. I urge the Senate to quickly move this bill forward.”
A recent poll revealed 63 percent, including majorities across party lines, favored the immigration reform. After Obama received over 70 percent of the Latino vote in his re-election victory, Republicans realized they needed to appeal more to Latinos, the largest minority group in the United States.
It is important to note that business, labor, and immigration rights groups support the bill.
What do you think?