Debate over immigration reform to continue in 2014

AMERICANThe year 2013 turned out to be the false hope year when it came to the issue of immigration reform in Washington, and while the Senate passed a comprehensive bill and supporters of reform attended rallies to gain support in their hundreds all over the country, the House of Representatives continued to drag its feet on the issue.

“(The bill) included the most controversial part which is an amnesty,” says the Heritage Foundation’s Vice President for Domestic and Economic Policy, Derrick Morgan.  “We think it’s unfair, costly and won’t work so I think, ultimately, that’s what undid it in the House.”  Morgan believes that the Senate bill needs to be changed in order to win support in the House of Representatives.

The Obama administration and Democrats in general are in favor of a comprehensive approach to the issue while Republicans want it done on a piecemeal basis, but the majority of both sides nonetheless agree that some kind of reform is indeed necessary.  “It’s all about finding a middle ground and a compromise between Democrats on one hand who are just interested in legalization and amnesty, and Republicans who are a little bit more skeptical of that but are supportive of increasing immigration going forward,” notes the Cato Institute’s Immigration Policy Expert, Alex Nowrasteh.

Nowrasteh adds that other issues such as budget talks, the government shutdown and the crisis in Syria also scuppered the chances for reform last year, but says that Congress needs to make at least one aspect of reform – making it easier for new immigrants to legally work in the US – a priority in 2014.