As lawmakers in the US Congress left for their Christmas break in 2013, one of the hot button issues was whether comprehensive immigration reform would be a top item on their agenda for 2014. At the start of this year, most of the emphasis has been on the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, jobs and the economy in the US; which is still struggling.
Interestingly enough, it is the long-stalled economy of the US which has tamped down the influx of illegal immigrants to this country. However, the ones that are here live in relative safety since no major crackdowns and deportations are in the works.
The issues facing comprehensive immigration reform
There are a number of sticking points from both the left and the right when it comes to immigration. For many lawmakers, these issues must be addressed properly before they are willing to take the next step.
Securing the border is one of sticking points and is arguably the main issue Republicans and those on the conservative side tend to focus on. Unless the border is secured, they are not comfortable with any other immigration reform that is being presented; synically thinking that the current administration will just pick and choose what they want to enforce out of a comprehensive bill.
However, it must be pointed out that many illegal immigrants come from those who overstay their Visas when entering the US legally, making the actual security of the border less of an issue. Still, many Americans would like to see the border secured if only to dissuade potential terrorist groups from entering the country or any other unsavory folks who would initially be denied a visa due to their status and affiliations.
Another pending issue is how the funds for dealing with illegal immigration should be handled. Whether it is building a wall, the actual increase in border patrol salary, strengthening the Visa program, providing assistance for illegal aliens in the country and so forth, the fiscal side of the equation is also at odds.
Illegal immigrants present in the US are currently estimated to number around 11 million people, making them a formidable number to handle properly and in a humane way. With so many illegal immigrants currently here, how to help them make the transition from their current status into legal residents is at the heart of any immigration reform legislation.
Where are illegal immigrants coming from?
A good question is just where all the illegal immigrants filtering into the US coming from. While many certainly come from Mexico, Central America countries like Guatemala and Honduras are also a source of illegal immigration as well.
In fact, illegal immigrants come from all around the world, whether directly crossing the border from Mexico, Canada or from island nations such as Haiti to those that arrive with legal Visas into the US through work programs or education and then stay long after the Visas have expired.
Will illegal immigration reform pass in 2014?
There are many factors that say it won’t. The recent bipartisan effort led by Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) has currently stalled and Rubio’s status among Republicans took a hit for the mere suggestion at amnesty for the illegal immigrants who are already present in the US.
Another factor is that 2014 is an election year with Republicans looking to take back the Senate while holding on to the House of Representatives. Controversial issues like illegal immigration reform divides Republicans which means that the likelihood of it passing is quite small unless the terms of the reform reflect their conservative values.