Monday, September 08, 2008

Maria Elena Salinas: Immigration still needs reform

Hopefully, there will be a solution to this immigration problem/issue in the next administration. But it is a bit unclear how or who can do it. DP

By Maria Elena Salinas Both Democrats and Republicans understand that there needs to be immigration reform in the next administration. However, they have very different approaches on how to go about it, and in the case of the Republicans, the position of the party does not necessarily reflect that of its presidential candidate, John McCain.

When you look at some of the hard-line positions advocated by the GOP, it's no wonder that only 6 percent of Hispanic voters think the Republican Party is better for Latinos, according to the latest Pew Hispanic Center survey. Republicans support English as the official language of the United States, urge the prompt completion of the border fence and propose reversing court decisions that, in their words, "make deportations more difficult." They want to deny federal funds to cities that provide sanctuary to undocumented immigrants, they oppose in-state tuition rates for undocumented students – which is what the DREAM Act proposes – and they oppose amnesty.

Word is that there were major debates prior to the Republican Convention about preparing the party's position on immigration, because it is in direct conflict with that of its presidential candidate – or at least when it comes to the approach it is taking on the issue. The party describes immigration as a national security issue, while McCain recognizes the need to "enact and implement other parts of practical, fair and necessary immigration policy."
The wording in the Democratic platform is much more considerate than that of the Republicans in recognizing the ineffectiveness of the raids that "tear apart families and leave people detained without adequate access to counsel."

In interviews with Spanish-language media, Barack Obama has promised to implement immigration reform in the first year of his administration. However, Arnoldo Torres, an expert on Hispanic issues, wonders where immigration will fall in the list of priorities if the Democrats make it to the White House. "With all the problems they will be facing, like fixing the economy, the war in Iraq, oil prices and the home mortgage crisis, among others, when will they have time to deal with immigration?" he asks.
Be sure to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

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