Tough hurdles ahead for immigration bill

FlagThe moment that the US Senate made the introduction of the much hyped immigration reform bill last week, the measure was immediately hailed by key stakeholders in business, labor and immigrants rights committees as a substantive and significant step towards the fixing of an immigration system that most people perceive as being broken.

The effort was a bipartisan one, something that was unprecedented up until the results of last year’s election that saw President Obama return to power with 70% of Latino voters behind him, and has increased the expectation that immigration reform has a chance of becoming real in 2013.  It is 27 years since the last big overhaul back in 1986, when three million illegal immigrants were given amnesty under the Reagan administration.

A similar attempt six years ago, back in 2007, ultimately collapsed when business and labor were unable to come to an agreement as to provisions concerning the recruitment of both non-skilled and skilled workers.  Now, however, the momentum is building to try and have President Obama sign this comprehensive immigration reform bill into law before Congress goes on its summer vacation.

Even now, however, there are still some big concerns, including the fact that it will take a total of 13 years for people to gain citizenship, a capping on the age of married children of US citizens to be eligible and the complete removal of sibling-based visas, with the Asian Pacific American community being particularly unimpressed.