What to Watch for in Immigration - Week of January 13, 2014

Looking ahead to this week in immigration news:

The New Year starts about the same as the old.  At the beginning of 2013, talk of immigration reform was all the rage.  2014 has started off no different, with headlines and declarations coming from all sides of the political spectrum.  Much like last year, Catholic bishops and the Chamber of Commerce both support comprehensive immigration reform.  So does Penny Pritzker, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce.  Not surprisingly, the most conservative members of the Republican party have already begun to voice their opposition to immigration reform.  Even so, more moderate Republicans, much like last year, have offered a ray of hope that immigration reform could happen this year.  At the very least, 2014 should be full of many immigration-related headlines.

States getting back into the immigration debate.  Back in 2010, state immigration laws were very much en vogue, with the likes of Alabama and Arizona leading the way with ultra restrictive, arguably racist, anti-immigration laws.  In 2014, states are still making noise, with New Jersey governor Chris Christie signing into law a bill allowing undocumented college students to pay in-state tuition rates and California gearing up to grant driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants, among other things.  Why?  Because even though immigration is the domain of the federal government, states still have to deal with many of the consequences of immigration.  Time will tell how the states react in the absence of federal immigration reform....

Pressure on Obama and the Democrats over failure to pass immigration reform?  While the blame (and they certainly shoulder much of the blame) has been cast on Republicans, many are starting to become impatient with President Obama and the Democrats in Congress.  After all, as pointed out recently by Representative Luis Guitierrez, Democrats do currently control the executive branch, one house of Congress and the executive agencies charged with enforcing immigration laws.  At what point do they start sharing some of the blame for a lack of change?


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