In a recent PBS interview, the U.S. secretary of homeland security said that there exists a great possibility that, finally, Congress will decide to pass comprehensive immigration reform to fix the dysfunctional national system. She indicated that once an agreement is reached on the manner of reducing the budget deficit, discussions will very likely be initiated about immigration reform, which has been postponed on several occasions. She was emphatic that the claimed porosity of the border between Mexico and the U.S. had been substantially reduced, so this time Republicans will not be able to wield that excuse. According to a study by the Pew Research Center, undocumented immigration has lost momentum for different reasons, one being the oversight of the Border Patrol.
The discussion about reform has taken a dramatic turn after the president was re-elected with huge participation from the immigrant community, particularly communities of Latin American origin. It appears that this time not only Democrats but also Republicans are interested in reconstructing the U.S. immigration system. If they take into account reform projects that have previously failed to pass, they might delve into aspects like family reunification (which up to now has been done partially and deceptively), speeding up the visa issuing system and revising quotas and temporary work permits. And, of course, there should be a system in place for the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants to obtain a way to remain in the country and acquire U.S. citizenship.
The representatives of different Latino organizations concur that legislators’ interest in immigration reform is not free. They have correctly noted that a Latino presence at the polls was an important factor in Barack Obama’s re-election. Democrats know that this time they must spare no effort to debate and pass reform. For their part, it would seem that Republicans have finally realized that without the votes of the ever-growing Latino population it will be very difficult for them to regain the presidency and a handful of elected positions.
In the Republican Party plans are already being made to integrate Latinos into their ranks. At the moment, they are attempting to realize a campaign to show the similarities between the cultural values of some segments of that population and the values preached by the party.
The surprise is that during the interview, Secretary Napolitano announced that Mexico is talking about the possibility of creating a Mexican border patrol in the north of the country. It is worth asking, would its function be to capture undocumented immigrants from the U.S.?
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