What to Watch for in Immigration - Week of January 6, 2014

And the year starts off with a bang:

California grants law license to undocumented immigrant - Last week, news broke that California had issued a law license to Sergio Garcia, an undocumented immigrant.  While the case has to be considered a major personal victory for Mr. Garcia, as well as potentially opening the doors to other undocumented immigrants who aspire to become lawyers, California's decision has also been controversial, even among proponents of immigrant rights.  If anything, Mr. Garcia is an example of why the time for immigration reform has come.  States such as California are beginning to recognize the value of immigrants, documented and undocumented, and want to make sure their potential is realized.  Yet the federal government remains completely incapable of even remotely reaching a compromise.  As we begin 2014, look for more cases like Mr. Garcia's.  Every state may not grant law licenses to qualifying undocumented immigrants, but they may take other actions, such as granting in-state tuition, issuing driver's licenses, refuse to cooperate with ICE, or other benefits.  It is time for the federal government to act.

Is John Boehner about to endorse immigration reform? - Speaking of the federal government needing to act, as Congress reconvenes this month, immigration may be in Congress' table.  Rumors are even starting to float that John Boehner, the Speaker of the House, may be willing to support comprehensive immigration reform.  While actions such as his recent hiring of a former John McCain aide known to support comprehensive immigration reform and his blistering rebuke of the strongest conservatives within the Republican party just before the holiday break are certainly positive, both his rhetoric and that of other potential supporters of immigration reform in the GOP still leans towards a piecemeal approach to immigration reform.  Will addressing each issue one-by-one within immigration reform bring about the necessary change?  That is certainly debatable.  Hopefully conversations will be had to push things in the right direction.

Notarios at it again - Even though it seems to be common knowledge that immigration reform was not passed in 2013, many immigration fraudsters are still making attempts to capitalize on all the discussion surrounding immigration reform.  Do not pay anyone for help with immigration reform until an actual bill has been signed into actual law and there is an actual application to file with the federal government of the United States.  It may be a while.

End of year removal statistics - According to statistics published by ICE itself, around 369,000 immigrants were deported from the United States in 2013.  While many of the deportations occurred at the U.S. border as individuals were attempting to make their way into the country, 134,000 were still removed from the interior of the United States.  That is a lot of people who have left behind a lot of friends, family members and employers.  While 369,000 is lower than previous years under the Obama administration, President Obama has overseen a vast immigration enforcement network that has separated more families than any previous administration in the modern era.  As of 2012, he had already removed more immigrants from the United States than President Bush had in 6 1/2 years.  Maybe this is a statistic that should be remembered whenever he gives speeches recognizing the plight of the immigrant.


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