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Immigration Reform in 2013 and Beyond

By Oscar Chacon and Amy Shannon, May 1, 2013

immigration-reformWith a handful of legislators finally beginning to tackle the broken U.S. immigration system, immigration reform is back on the front page in the United States for the first time this decade. But it has never been off the radar for immigrant groups, who have witnessed first-hand the toll that indiscriminate deportation, indefinite detention, and ongoing discrimination have taken on our communities.

Senator Marco Rubio and his “Gang of Eight” may have captured the headlines in Washington, but immigrant-led organizations have systematically planted and nurtured the seeds of public pressure for immigration policy reform for the past decade. The growing clamor for reform reached a crescendo in the wake of the November elections, as pundits analyzed the growing power of Latin American voters and struggled to come to grips with changing demographic realities.

Today, as immigration activists rally in small and large groups around the country, rumblings from both the Senate and the House of Representatives make it clear that moving an immigration reform bill this session remains a tough challenge. Still, it is remarkable how diverse the voices demanding immigration policy reform have become. If public will and common sense are the driving forces of policy development, we should see meaningful action on immigration this year.

Sadly, there are other factors at work. As the debates unfold in the House and the Senate, we fear that many of the good and urgently needed elements of the package could lose ground to the unnecessary, wasteful, and downright harmful elements favored by some lawmakers. Worse yet, policymakers could argue and stall so long that they run out of time to move legislation forward. For the millions of people living in fear, as well as the more than 1,000 who are deported every day, failure to act could be the cruelest possible outcome.

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Immigration Reform in 2013 and Beyond

By Oscar Chacon and Amy Shannon, May 1, 2013

immigration-reformWith a handful of legislators finally beginning to tackle the broken U.S. immigration system, immigration reform is back on the front page in the United States for the first time this decade. But it has never been off the radar for immigrant groups, who have witnessed first-hand the toll that indiscriminate deportation, indefinite detention, and ongoing discrimination have taken on our communities.

Senator Marco Rubio and his “Gang of Eight” may have captured the headlines in Washington, but immigrant-led organizations have systematically planted and nurtured the seeds of public pressure for immigration policy reform for the past decade. The growing clamor for reform reached a crescendo in the wake of the November elections, as pundits analyzed the growing power of Latin American voters and struggled to come to grips with changing demographic realities.

Today, as immigration activists rally in small and large groups around the country, rumblings from both the Senate and the House of Representatives make it clear that moving an immigration reform bill this session remains a tough challenge. Still, it is remarkable how diverse the voices demanding immigration policy reform have become. If public will and common sense are the driving forces of policy development, we should see meaningful action on immigration this year.

Sadly, there are other factors at work. As the debates unfold in the House and the Senate, we fear that many of the good and urgently needed elements of the package could lose ground to the unnecessary, wasteful, and downright harmful elements favored by some lawmakers. Worse yet, policymakers could argue and stall so long that they run out of time to move legislation forward. For the millions of people living in fear, as well as the more than 1,000 who are deported every day, failure to act could be the cruelest possible outcome.

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