Immigration policy comes down to two questions: "Who gets in?" and "How many get in?" In the end, Washington has to decide the numbers. One hundred and fifty million adults worldwide want to permanently immigrate to the U.S. today, according to a Gallup poll. The United States government is going to say "no" to most them. But the Senate and the White House refuse to acknowledge reality. They have presented Utopian proposals where anyone in the world can get a U.S. work permit except terrorists and ax murderers.
When Woodrow Wilson established the annual State of the Union address a hundred years ago, the United States had a strict policy forbidding Asian immigrants from even setting foot on our shores. The Chinese Exclusion Act was the law of the land, and it remains the only federal law to ever exclude an entire group of people from immigration solely because of their race.
Tonight, President Obama will step to the same podium and chart a new course for our nation – one that will hopefully result in a common sense immigration process. Moving forward, it is crucial that we also recognize the impact of our broken immigration system on Asian Pacific Americans, a community that is often overlooked in this debate.
Obama may have won re-election in November 2012. But, that has not stopped him from campaigning.
Recently, in an immigration speech in Nevada, he warned Congress not to let immigration reform “get bogged down in endless debate” for if it doesn’t happen in a “timely” fashion, he will send his own bill up to Capitol Hill. Tomorrow, the president will deliver the next speech in his endless campaign: the 2013 State of the Union address. Rumor has it that he will outline his proposal for immigration reform.
During his second inaugural speech, the president proclaimed that "[o]ur journey is complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity.” Powerful words, indeed. The problem is that, coming from him, they ring hollow.
The president loves to pontificate about immigration, but the reality is that since his administration began, he hasn’t done anything to advance the discussion of immigration and help forge the bipartisan consensus necessary to address this important issue. He’s only made promises that he hasn’t kept.
It seems everyone has some advice for beleaguered Republicans these days, especially when it comes to Hispanic voters and the issue of immigration.
Among the many groups and interests who may or may not have the best interests of the Republican Party at heart is the Hispanic Leadership Network, which bills itself as a coalition of Hispanic Republicans. In an appeal to congressional Republicans, the HLN suggests that the party’s rhetoric on immigration policy is the decisive impediment to winning more of the Hispanic vote.
As the United States begins winding down its war in Afghanistan there is another task still left undone in our twelve-year war on terror. The government has yet to give a full accounting of the Central Intelligence Agency's unlawful use of extraordinary rendition, secret detention and torture.
The shame hidden behind the cloak of secrecy that still surrounds the use of extraordinary rendition, secret detention, and torture should be lifted by making a full disclosure. Openness lends credibility to pledges not to act in such a manner again and can help the United States regain some of the respect it has lost at home and abroad as a result of these activities.
The recent immigration-reform proposals unveiled by President Obama and a bipartisan group of Senators are very much in accord when it comes to general principles. Both proposals advocate smarter and more effective immigration-enforcement measures at the border and in the interior of the country. Both stress the creation of a pathway to legal status and eventual U.S. citizenship for the nation’s 11 million unauthorized immigrants, as well as reforming the way we treat the best and the brightest who come here from around the world. And both call for reforms in the family-based and employment-based immigration systems to reduce backlogs and make limits on future flows more flexible. However, there are significant differences in the specifics of each proposal, particularly those having to do with immigration enforcement.
After serving his country for nearly forty years, Senator Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) departed Capitol Hill earlier this month. It's now up to Congress to honor his legacy by continuing to support his most important legislative achievement.
The Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program was passed twenty years ago. It established an international framework to safeguard and/or eliminate weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their delivery systems located in the newly independent states that resulted from collapse of the Soviet Union.
In a warning to fellow Republicans, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) urged the GOP to not overlook immigration reform, or else run the risk of having U.S. Latinos defect from their ranks as red states could become blue. Sen. McCain is right - immigration reform is a necessary and important first step - but in and of itself, is not enough if conservatives truly want to gain the trust and confidence of the fast growing U.S. Latino electorate.
If they wish to turn the tide on U.S. Latinos, the GOP must show a deeper understanding of how this key demographic has evolved over time.
To begin, U.S. Latinos are not a homogenous group and the term “Latino” itself is a construction of U.S. origin to describe an otherwise extremely diverse population. The majority of U.S. Latinos are Mexican-American, Puerto Rican and Cuban-American with a growing group of Central and South Americans. Cuban-Americans, given their history, tend to vote Republican, although they elected the first Cuban Democrat from South Florida, Joe Garcia, in the last election. Puerto Ricans have tended to vote Democrat, although pro-statehood Puerto Ricans lean Republican. Mexican-Americans have voted overwhelmingly Democratic for decades. This recent Congress has the largest number of Latino congressmen ever, with three Senators (all Cuban-American).
The phone rings in the house of an undocumented immigrant who has lived here for decades. The person on the line offers her a deal. If she registers with the US government, goes through a criminal background check, and pays a fine, she will be forever allowed to work, travel, and conduct her affairs in America without fear of deportation. For her children, even better — they will be given a fast-track path to citizenship. And down the line, once more is done to secure the border, she can get in the back of the line and eventually earn her citizenship as well.
Is there any chance she would say no?