Beyond immigration reform: Enforcing current immigration laws

The immigration reform bill can hurt both the Republican and Democratic Parties. Photo: AP

OKLAHOMA CITY, July 5, 2013 ― If estimates are correct, over 12 million undocumented individuals are living in the U.S. Telling them to leave won’t be a simple procedure. To remove them all would require massive government force that would be hugely expensive, destructive of civil liberties, and ultimately ineffective.  

As time ticks down on the overhaul of immigration law, both the Republican and Democratic Parties are realizing that an immigration reform bill is no simple task. Speaker Boehner himself wants to analyze every page of the bill before moving forward with a vote.

SEE RELATED: Senate passes immigration reform: What’s next?

Should the immigration reform bill not pass or move forward in the House, backlash from minority voters could cost Republicans the House in the 2014 mid-term elections. If not, it would probably discourage minority Democratic voters, especially those of Hispanic descent.

Boehner is in a difficult position. If he sides with the Senate and pushes for the immigration reform bill, his leadership position could be in jeopardy come 2014. If he does not move forth with the bill passed by the Senate, then the House will face a public outcry by those in favor of an immigration reform.

President Obama’s efforts on immigration could leave a scar on pro-reform voters. He runs the risk of being labeled the president who promised much for immigrants and delivered short of his promise. He’s already taken harsh criticism from the left for Obamacare (it doesn’t go far enough), Guantanamo (he was supposed to close it), civil liberties (he opposed President Bush’s policies that limited them, but has expanded those policies), and military policy in the Middle East. He’s highly vulnerable to the charge of doing too little for his liberal supporters. 

What the current immigration debate should focus on is enforcing the laws currently in place. There should be stricter limitations on welfare for those who are undocumented, and ways to allow for a quicker visa-granting process. It should not take 10 or more years for a person from Mexico, for example, to get resolution on a visa application.

SEE RELATED: The immigration reform headache

If an individual’s application for a visa is in order, if he or she has the income to come to the U.S. and can bring important skills here, then by all means fast track the application. Adding more laws to a system that has been broken for years will not solve the issue. Yet enforcing the current laws and making sure that government officials do their job will take care of the immigration overhaul currently faced in the U.S. 

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Jose L. Fulgencio

 Jose L. Fulgencio is a writer for the Washington Times Communities, LLC. Jose is a dedicated writer to political and business issues affecting the Hispanic community.     


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