U.S. Immigration reform legislation could become reality in 2014

Immigration attorney Helen Beasley, of Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto, goes over paperwork with an unidentified teen during a consultation at St. Anthony Catholic Church in Menlo Park, California, on Sunday, August 26, 2012. More than 500 immigrants and their families from the Peninsula came to attended workshop for “deferred action for childhood arrivals” sponsored by Community Legal Services. (Josie Lepe

Immigration attorney Helen Beasley, of Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto, goes over paperwork with an unidentified teen during a consultation at St. Anthony Catholic Church in Menlo Park, California, on Sunday, August 26, 2012.  (Josie Lepe | San Jose Mercury News/MCT)

Prospects for the passage of comprehensive immigration reform on Capitol Hill are looking up, after years of inaction on the issue.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, indicated he might back limited, separate reforms to the United States’ immigration system. While President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders have pushed for a single, broad immigration package, Obama would likely sign smaller reforms into law as he looks to make good on a promise and gain momentum following a politically brutal 2013.

Boehner’s potential pivot on immigration might be in recognition of an increasingly diverse electorate ahead of this year’s midterms and the 2016 presidential election. Bucking tea party allies, several top Republicans see reform as vital to winning over Latino voters, 71 percent of whom voted for Obama in 2012, according to the Pew Research Center.

Beyond politics, immigration reform could have an impact on the economy, Central Michigan University economics professor Jason Taylor said.

“While immigrants account for only around 13 percent of the U.S. population, around 20 percent of small businesses are owned by immigrants,” he said.  “If you think about it, immigrants are not a random selection of people from other nations. Instead, they represent risk-takers and go-getters.  It takes a lot of courage and guile to completely abandon your old life and try to start anew half a world away.

“When people talk about stopping immigration to the U.S., they are basically saying that we should turn our backs on the very ingredient that has made our nation exceptional.”

That’s a sentiment Gov. Rick Snyder, up for re-election in November, echoed at a December naturalization ceremony.

“It’s possible that one of the people becoming a citizen today could be the next Meijer, Dow, Vlasic or Ford – great Michigan companies started by immigrants or children of immigrants,” Snyder said in a news release.  “Our success has always been the product of our unique capacity to welcome the contributions and spirit of entrepreneurship of all people.”

Reform would have an impact on Michigan’s economy, as well.

About 13,400 people will become American citizens in Michigan this year, according to Gov. Rick Snyder’s office.

“Michigan is proud of its diversity and rich history of immigrants who helped build our state,” Snyder said at a naturalization ceremony at the state capitol in December. “We must create welcoming communities that leverage the full potential of all who live there, capitalizing on different perspectives, cultures and talents for knowledge, creativity and innovation to thrive.”

What form immigration reform would take is uncertain, as Democrats have placed emphasis on creating a streamlined pathway to citizenship, while Republicans have looked for beefed-up border patrols.

Taylor said any reform package should address illegal immigration.

“In my opinion, the main problem with the immigration system now is that there is too little legal immigration and too much illegal immigration,” he said. “Institutions for, of, and by the people are what make America so strong and such a magnet for immigrants who want to be the pilot of their own lives rather than be piloted by heavy-handed and repressive governments.”


  1. “If you think about it, immigrants are not a random selection of people from other nations. Instead, they represent risk-takers and go-getters. It takes a lot of courage and guile to completely abandon your old life and try to start anew half a world away.”
    ————–You could say the same thing about drug dealers, con artists, and other fraudsters, because illegal aliens ALSO break laws. They not only break immigration laws, but commit fraud, identity theft, and tax evasion. Somehow, I don’t think we need “go getters” whose “go getting” is focused on breaking laws to benefit only themselves and their families. Moreover, many of those “go getters” end up using far more in taxpayer-provided services than they’d ever pay in, even if they were legalized.

  2. Most Americans are descendants of first generation non-immigrants who came to this country for a better life. At present there are millions of people in America who are either legally here on visas (example, dependent spouses) or living illegally (undocumented). If news laws are enacted to help the undocumented get a work permit to work here then it should be applicable even to those who are legally here too. Otherwise it would amount to discrimination between two categories of non-immigrants. For example, the DREAM Act. The letter “A” means “Alien” and not “undocumented”. There are kids on dependent visas and student visas who have come to America below age 15, are under 35, attend American schools and colleges, and have good character – all criteria necessary to qualify for green card under the DREAM Act. Similarly, there are thousands of adults who are legally here for over ten years on visas and cannot work or study (example, dependent spouses on F-2). If an undocumented person is granted work authorization under the new immigration reform bill, then even these dependent spouses should get an opportunity to work and progress.

  3. Santos Hernandez says:

    To those that generalize the undocumented aliens with criminals are using the same hateful bigoted arguments that affronted every wave of immigrant arriving in the U.S.

    Same hate, different day.

  4. I agree with the last post on why those here legally but struglling to get work authorization due to the country’s strict immigration laws. The focus should not be granting permanent residence to illegal (undocumented) immigrants alone. The country’s broken immigration laws need be fixed so that nayone here legally can aspire easily to have a permanent residence or citizenship.

    The first post by ali…suggests an ignorant and very selfish opinion. If i may ask are the native americans not the aborigines of this country. Your great great grand parents came to this country as immigrants. why are you so worked up and against legalizing illegal immigrants? what have they done to you? So you want 11.2 million folks deported? that will make you happpy huh? Go think about silly comments and equally go mark it somewhere that immigration reform will come to pass and you should be ashamed of yourself your entire life. Go get a life and stop posting silly stuff!!!

  5. Interesting comment, coming from a person, whose name is “ali”.!!

    How long has your family been in the USA? A couple decades? A little more? Much lesser?

    Open you mind and your heart dude. How many of us are really willing to study courses like Engineering? These kids come from outside, bring a lot of money to pay for their fees, and then contribute to the engineering growth of our country. Few of my very good friends are immigrants. They are among the brightest in the class.

  6. Dave Francis says:

    Its obvious to most Americans know that the U.S. government cares more about finding jobs for new foreign workers than for unemployed citizens and legal residents is proving correct? It’s just disgraceful that politicians we voted into office would sell out the job seekers in their own constituencies. It’s already apparent that the Senate amnesty bill would allow another 30 million across our borders; not satisfied with 1 million plus that arrive here annually. Both political parties are to blame for the gigantic costs associated with criminal illegal aliens skirting our laws and deserve to just live here, without prosecution or any consequence. Not only that there is little penalty under President Obamas reign, but we are forced to pay for all benefits involved—including food stamps and subsidized housing. It just goes to show how Democrats think, when they would offer special privileges to foreigners, and omit veterans from observing the monuments of World War 2. Americans have been PLAYED to long, and still remain gullible by the progressive lies from both Sen. Harry Reid and House Speaker John Boehner, with their Special interesting following demanding more immigrants—educated or not?

    But honestly how can open our doors wider, when we have mass poverty in our country. More people who will have to be fed and housed, when huge unemployed cannot get unemployment benefits to feed their families. The sleazy Democrats are now accounted for more millionaires than their counterparts in the GOP. We can only look to THE PEOPLE’S TEA PARTY, which is splintering away from the Republican Establishment. The Tea Party is moderation in Conservatism, a grassroots movement that calls awareness to any issue which challenges the security, sovereignty, or domestic harmony of our beloved nation, the United States of America. From our founding, the Tea Party symbolizes the voice of the true owners of the United States: WE THE PEOPLE. The Tea Party has a growing membership of Americans from every Race, religion and political relationship, who have been lied to, by arrogant and delusional bunch of opinionated people and have unceasingly ignored the will of the people.

    President Obama and his agencies have repeatedly trampled the Constitution. Blatantly defies Congress and the House Aids terrorists and is demanding Congress awards amnesty to people who entered our country illegally. His signature health care legislation is unconstitutional. Millions are losing their insurance plans and their doctors because of it. He’s put all of us at risk with his reckless actions one after the other and he and Senators as the Harry Reid of Nevada continue to ignore the House and instead implement presidential orders undermining the “Rule of Law”. As cited in the Federal register. Rep. Jim Gerlach, (R-PA)., has proposed a bill that would permit the House and Senate to sue this Administration for failing to impose the law or/and violating the U.S. Constitution. Gerlach says this legislation is required due to “unparalleled use of executive discretion to selectively apply or enforce duly-enacted laws,” which includes immigration laws. . Fax for FREE Congress – Tell them to secure the borders first! http://petitions.conservativeactionalerts.com.

  7. In order for reform to happen the parties need to be willing to compromise. If neither budges, it’s not going to happen. This is the reason it has sat in the House all of these months.

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