What to Watch for in Immigration - Week of November 11, 2013

Remembering the contributions of our immigrant veterans - Being that it is Veteran's Day, it is important to remember the contributions of immigrants to our armed forces.  Lawful Permanent Residents (green card holders) are eligible to enlist in the military.  Each year, an average of about 8,000.00 non-citizens enlist in the U.S. military.

As of 2008, there were more than 65,000 immigrants enrolled in the armed forces.  That constitutes about 5% of all active duty military personnel.  Non-citizens have served in the armed forces of the United States going back to the Revolutionary War.

In the Civil War, more than 140,000 Irish immigrants alone served in the United States army.  Whole regiments were made up exclusively of Irish immigrants.  Several of these regiments were formed into the "Irish Brigade," a famed unit that saw action in some of the most important battles of the war.  The brigade was so battle tested that only two other U.S. Army brigades saw higher numbers of casualties over the course of the war.

The Irish Brigade and the myriad of contributions of immigrants to the armed forces before and since the civil war only highlight further the many benefits immigrants bring to our society.  As the immigration reform debate continues, this is something we would do well to remember.

Immigration Reform increasingly unlikely this year.  Lawmakers are finally starting to concede what many have assumed for some time now: that immigration reform will not be happening this year.  While in his home district, Republican Whip Kevin McCarthy told demonstrators outside his office that the 16 days remaining on the House calendar for 2013 were too short a time for the House to take up immigration reform.  He did say that he remained committed to votes on immigration reform in 2014, but with 2014 being an election year, the odds seem long.

Hillary Clinton enters the fray.  No, she hasn't declared her candidacy for the presidency...yet...but she did make it very clear she wants Congress to pass immigration reform.  When taken together with New Jersey Governor Christie's acknowledgment of a broken immigration system, there may be reason to have hope for the future if immigration reform fails to materialize during Obama's second term.

Cartoons & Comprehensive Immigration Reform.  Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane is set to bring the immigration debate to life in a new animated series, Bordertown.  Set to debut in 2014, Bordertown, will be set in a fictitious town near the U.S. - Mexico border and will focus on the relationship between two neighbors, a border patrol agent and a Mexican immigrant.  We'll have to wait and see how this goes.....

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