Time Short for Immigration Reform Plan

By Wood, Daniel B | The Christian Science Monitor, March 19, 2010 | Go to article overview
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Time Short for Immigration Reform Plan


Wood, Daniel B, The Christian Science Monitor


As immigration reform advocates prepare to march on Washington, a draft bipartisan plan gets scrutiny.

Sunday's immigration march on Washington comes in a tiny window of opportunity before next fall's election, and after a year preoccupied by healthcare reform, say immigrants rights groups.

"The feeling is that if we don't get this passed right now, it will be another two to three years because of the fall election, the following year as a lead-up to a presidential election," says Robert Gittelson, a reform advocate affiliated with Fair Immigration Reform Movement.

He and other pro-immigrant groups are delighted with the draft framework for immigration reform that Sens. Charles Schumer (D) of new York and Lindsey Graham (R) of South Carolina have released.

As broadly outlined in the Washington Post Thursday, the plan calls for four pillars:

Requiring biometric Social Security cards to ensure that illegal workers cannot get job.

Fulfilling and strengthening US commitments on border security and interior enforcement.

Creating a process for admitting temporary workers.

Implementing a tough but fair path to legalization for those already here.

The strength of the blueprint lies in the political strategy employed, placing national security at the top of the agenda, observers say.

"The Graham/Schumer blueprint has recalibrated previous legislation regarding comprehensive immigration reform," writes Catherine Wilson, an immigration specialist at Villanova University in Bethlehem, Pa., "by emphasizing at the outset national security concerns and economic contributions of immigrants in the United States, as opposed to a 'path to citizenship.' "

Ms. Wilson notes that Sen. John McCain (R), during his 2008 presidential campaign, emphasized that the failure of comprehensive immigration reform in 2006 and 2007 was due to the inability of Congress to provide credible talking points on security issues surrounding immigration.

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