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Immigration rules, part two

Today, the right of foreign citizens to immigrate to the United States is a thorny issue.
A record 1,046,539 persons gained U.S. citizenship in 2008. Immigration is viewed in this country as positive and negative, in turn; it is tied to issues that are economic, social and political.

A story in The New York Times earlier this year detailed some of the tensions that surround the immigration debate. “From the time of the nation's founding, immigration has been crucial to the United States' growth and also a periodic source of conflict. At the turn of the 21st century, the country has experienced another great wave of immigration, the largest since the 1920s. However, for the first time illegal immigrants outnumbered legal immigrants coming in to the country -- by 2008 an estimated 11.9 million illegal immigrants were living here - and immigration had once again become one of the most contentious issues on the political agenda.”

In January of 2007, an article in Forbes stated, “Illegal immigration into the United States has sparked heated debate in Congress, roiled the two main political parties and prompted hundreds of thousands of immigrant supporters to take to the streets recently in peaceful demonstrations nationwide.”

In May, The Washington Post reported that, “Although President Obama has spent much of his time in office moving away from the policies of his predecessor, on immigration enforcement, he has embraced several Bush administration initiatives, and the changes he has promised to make are couched in nuance.”

There are myriad issues tied to immigration. The Obama Administration had indicated it would focus on employers who hire illegal immigrants, human traffickers, and the way immigration violators are presently handled. “Details are sketchy, and even the first steps will take months or years to complete. They include reviewing the federal government’s contracts with more than 350 local jails and private prisons, with an eye toward consolidating many detainees in places more suitable for noncriminals facing deportation — some possibly in centers built and run by the government.”

However, as reported in The Economist in August, President Obama said at a summit with the presidents of Mexico and Canada, “that his administration will not pursue immigration reform until 2010 at the earliest…. During the campaign Mr. Obama said immigration would be a priority, and in April the administration said it would raise the issue this year.”  Secretary Napolitano said later that week that, “she shared the interest in reform; though, for the present, her agency’s job was to enforce existing law more intelligently.”

The U.S. Congress, however, has decided to not wait to begin addressing issues related to immigration law. The ”Widows Death Penalty” change discussed in is a change that garnered a large majority in Congress (the provision was tacked-on to the “must-pass” appropriations bill to keep the Department of Homeland Security funded. The House of Representatives had passed the large piece of legislation by a vote of 307-114, and the Senate by 79-19.)

However, not all of the attempts at changing current immigration policy in Congress have been met with such a strong response among the majority of Members. For example, amendments were attached to the legislation that extended additional funding for the Iraq war. The Senate Appropriations Committee had voted to add several provisions dealing with immigration, including one related to amnesty for “guest workers” – which had been defeated in 2007. Ultimately, these amendments failed to gain passage by the full bodies of Congress.

There are strong feelings on both sides about the various issues related to immigration, for example, those as noted on the website The points of the debate include labor issues; access to support programs such as Medicaid, food stamps, and welfare; state security; population crowding; the health of our country from diseases being carried across the borders; cultural expansion; supporting the ideals of freedom and democracy – the list goes on and on.

The New York Times story observed, “In his second term of office, President George W. Bush championed comprehensive immigration reform, but a bipartisan bill was defeated in 2007 after an upswell from voters opposed to legal status for illegal immigrants.” Now President Obama’s administration is getting poised to attempt changes to immigration law.

Immigration is not going away. Nor is the debate going to go away: about which, and how many, foreigners we should allow to join the ranks of our citizenry.


  • abusedcitizen 5 years ago

    "...the right of foreign citizens to immigrate to the United States..." does not exist. Permission to immigrate is a gift granted by the citizenry. The citizens have the sole right to determine the quantity and qualifications of potential fellow citizens. This is not something that can be dictated by foreign citizens.

  • AbusedNonCitizen 5 years ago

    Lived most of my life here, coming through the right channels ... Heck even have paid my dues into the social security system...and contributed every way possible... Ready to create jobs for the society that I call mine but dosent call me theirs.
    Fix the broken system!

  • Estoban 5 years ago

    Since we became a nation immigration has averaged 250,000 immigrants per year, some years less and some more. Since 1990 Legal immigrants have averaged one million per year. That's 4 times the normal rate. Illegal aliens since 1990 have also averaged one million per year. Combined we now have 8 times the normal number of people coming into the U.S. We need to drop legal immigrant numbers back to the norm of 250,000 per year and eliminate all illegal aliens.

  • alex leal 5 years ago

    i get here in 2001 from colombia my mother was from spain and my father from portugal , i didn't speak even a word of english, i used to live in a home with like 15 person and just made $7 but that was not my deterrent to persue my goal of get a piece of the american dream. Today my live has improved big time, i do not want to look back and i want my papers for start my trucking bussines and create jobs for americans, but i can't..i am in a condition of many immigrants that entered this country with visa and let it expired...I said you should put the people that entered at his country legaly in a diferent bag than those who didn't and exclude the musulins and start moving forward

  • A Real American 5 years ago

    Alex Leal says - i am in a condition of many immigrants that entered this country with visa and let it expired...I said you should put the people that entered at his country legaly in a diferent bag than those who didn't and exclude the musulins and start moving forward

    Excuse me, but you are in violation of American Immigration laws by remaining on an expired visa. Why do you think you should be able to stay here? Why do you feel you are above the law and do not have to abide by them? Since you are breaking our laws, why should you not be deported immediately? Its people like you that make Americans really disrespect and harbor ill will towards illegals. Can I assume you are working,using fake ID's, perhaps not paying taxes or mooching benefits you are not entitled to? You may have entered legally but now you are just another of the 20 millions scumbags who have no respect for our country and its laws. We don't need people like you. Immigration reform will never pass. Go Home

  • Mary 5 years ago

    Why is Congress still waiting to act on the issue and fix a broken system? Why are we still listening to angry racists who derail the debate? A comprehensive immigration reform with path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants must be Congress' number one priority after they pass the health care bill.

  • What's all that smoke? 5 years ago

    IMMIGRATION REFORM WILL PASS. The anti immigration groups are in a disadvantage this time and just lost a big loud supporter (LOU DOBBS). This time more than ever I am confident it will pass. The pro immigration reform groups are gaining momentum as well.

  • Estoban 5 years ago

    Not one lawbreaking illegal alien has shown the character, honesty and integrity of being worthy to receive a pathway to the most valuable citizenship in the world! They disrespect our culture, history and laws. Their first act in the U.S. was to illegally overstay a visa or steal across our border, followed by using stolen and/or fraudulent identification to steal a job from an American. Equally guilty and criminal are the creepy greedy employers that hire them.

  • Bradwhg 5 years ago

    RE: What's all that smoke?

    Amnesty will not happen. Not this year or next. With 15 million plus Americans out of work and approx 8 million illegal aliens still employed, the pro amnesty people have not yet even begun to see the American anger. Obama is doing what he does best. Make promises, he knows will never be kept. There will be a push for amnesty, it will fail and Obama will blame Congress. For those who think Dobbs was leading the charge, you really need to do some homework and possibly listen to his radio show. Dobbs was really a moderate on immigration. In effect a strawman put up as a victory for the La Raza crowd. I can guarantee, that any of the ethnic special interest hustlers/ open border/amnesty advocates if offered 8 million dollars to leave their position , would do so in a heartbeat.

  • hi 5 years ago