Blog | January 25, 2013 | Cathi Tactaquin and Gerald Lenoir | NNIRR & BAJI National Network
Pramila Jayapal’s article titled, “Why this Round of Immigration Reform is Different” in ColorLines Magazine overlooks some critical factors in the struggle for fair and just immigration reform. It is certainly the case that the immigrant rights movement is stronger today than it was during the last round of the congressional debate, as Jayapal points out. She is also right that the show of force at the ballot box by immigrant voters and their allies helped to catapult immigration reform to the top of the political agenda for both Democrats and Republicans.
But does this bipartisan change of heart in Congress mean that we can expect a bill that will meet the needs and aspirations of the 11 million undocumented immigrants now residing in the United States? Not! Although the Republican Party lost the election, their conservative ideology still holds tremendous sway over both parties and in the public psyche.
Yes, a door has opened for immigration reform—but the road to reform is a rocky one and it’s quite possible that what we see at the end falls way below the standard for fairness. The political line-up on immigration in both the House and the Senate continues to be a dangerous one—and the devil will be in the details of any “deal” on immigration reform.
It is highly questionable if there will be a fair and just path to permanent legal status for people without visas, as Seth Freed Wessler points out in another ColorLines article, “What to Expect from Immigration Reform and When to Expect It”.