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June 29th, 2009
09:29 AM ET

Immigration reform takes courage

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/06/25/obama.energy/art.obama.garden.gi.jpg caption="President Obama,  met with congressional leaders last Thursday to begin planning major reforms to the immigration system"]

Ruben Navarrette Jr.
Special to CNN

The advocates of comprehensive immigration reform have a message for their opponents: "Game on!"

They're right. For the first six months of the Obama administration, immigration reform was on the back burner. But Thursday, the issue began making its way to the front of the stove when President Obama met with congressional leaders of both parties to plan a major piece of legislation.

After the meeting, Obama told reporters, "After all the overheated rhetoric and the occasional demagoguery on all sides around this issue, we've got a responsible set of leaders sitting around the table who want to actively get something done and not put it off until a year, two years, three years, five years from now, but to start working on this thing right now."

One of those in the room was New York Sen. Chuck Schumer. As chairman of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on immigration, he is expected to write the bill which could be unveiled this fall.

Given what Schumer said last week at a gathering sponsored by the Migration Policy Institute, his legislation will almost certainly combine enhanced border enforcement and earned legalization for undocumented immigrants in the United States. Before the sausage is complete, however, we might also see a requirement that all workers carry a tamper-proof identification card and new criteria for admitting legal immigrants.

Keep reading...


Filed under: 360° Radar • Immigration • Ruben Navarrette Jr.
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Trav

    What takes real courage is enforcing the laws that exist now.

    June 29, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  2. RLWellman

    The three Houses (White House, Congress, and Senate) want to give illegal aliens our Social Security, Medicaid, and now Healthcare without having to pay in to it. What part about being illegal don't they understand?

    They don't have to worry because their benefits are paid by us, the American Taxpayer through a different fund. These are the ones who make the decisions about giving away "our" benefits. Do you think they would be as willing, if it were "their" benefits that were being shared?

    President Obama should do the same thing that happened during the Great Depression. All the illegal aliens should be gathered up and kicked out of the country. This would allow the American citizens who are laid off or out of work opportunity to find a job.

    Think of the billions of dollars this would save our country. No more healthcare benefits, schooling, or food allotments given to illegal aliens. We could take better care of our own citizens that are in need. Then, if these people wanted to come back, they could do it the legal way.

    June 29, 2009 at 1:55 pm |
  3. Shar789

    No Amnesty Period! Been there, done that in the past. It didn't solve anything. The government never put up the fence or put national guard troops to protect the border then. They still keep coming. It is a slap in the face to all of the immigrants that came here/are coming here legally, through a process. Where is the protection for the American people?

    June 29, 2009 at 1:49 pm |
  4. Sharon S

    What about the ones already here in our country living off our system??
    What about the ones sending their kids to OUR schools and using OUR school system that WE pay for and they pay NOTHING into???
    What about that Obama???

    How does Obama plan on paying for all this???? How does he intend to rectify this problem???? illegals who pay NO TAXES???? NEVER HAVE!!!
    When will these people start paying for all the freebies they get from OUR country???

    June 29, 2009 at 12:42 pm |
  5. johanna

    Mr. President, Im on ur side but we need a wall. If we can afford and figure out how to go to moon, we can build a wall on border. Its for the safety of Americans and legal immigrants. Illegals should be treated as criminals; they have broken the law. Im not a mean person. We just cant take as many as we used to. I know their country is in trouble but do you want that here? No amnesty! Its not fair to those who come through correct process.Period. Its the law!
    An Obama supporter but not an idiot.

    June 29, 2009 at 12:16 pm |
  6. Jennifer

    I would happily carry my green card around with me if it didn't take a year for USCIS to issue replacements when they are stolen.

    June 29, 2009 at 11:43 am |
  7. Joe G. (Illinois)

    To all the people with Obama fever!! Hello..! Hello..! The 9/11 hijackers had all legitimate ID’s. Something about Obama ain’t right… And how can anyone knock on his door asking for help? He’s for abortion!! It’s like kneeling to the devil and asking for mercy... It ought not to be a joke taken lightly.. "I believe" it’s very disrespectable to God. Like what..? God can’t help?!

    June 29, 2009 at 11:31 am |
  8. earle,florida

    Con's: It's hard for the average hard working American wage earner to watch with their very eyes,illigals coming into the country, and working jobs for a less wage,(even under the table,ha,ha,with absolutely no State,or Fed. Revenue,with the government turning a blind eye) undercutting their very right for a fair wage. The illigals seem to know how to work the system regarding food-stamps,emergency-room health care,and medicaid,not to mention the myriad of other benefits the average american worker isn't even aware of (ie. college tuition to schools with entitlements,etc.),that are readily available! The American taxpayer is footing the bill for all of this,falsefied documentation (social secuity #'s,driver license,insurance,etc.)! Finally,I wish someone would look into the Auto-Insurance Co.'s lobbying groups,and how much K-Street donates to politicians to promote,and back illigal immigration? Why? If every American that looks at their premiums to insure a vehicle,the highest portion of your premium goes to "Uninsured Vehicle Accidents"accounting for 20%+,in which 20 years ago was non-existent ,(crunch the #'s,and it's ten's of billions $$$ !) but is here to stay. Pro's: These poor immigrants have no recourse but to enter the country illigally for the shortage of labor workers in the country,and are exploited to the n'th degree,by both big business,and unions! They are religious people,hard working,and yearn for the American Dream,like all past Americans having come to america as immigrants! Our country can easily absorb these wonderful people,and their culture. How many Einstein's,Curie's,Telsa's,will we discover in this abstract Picasso' of a friendly neighbor we call Mexico? Finally,as a country the white family has two children max.,the blacks,have small families now,approx.three children,and the other mixes of our country are also similiar in reproduction. Currently the United States population is stagnant,as far as the rest of the world growth patterns,yet we have so much country not even populated,without the fear of saturation,and definitely not over-population! My final anaysis is to let these people stay,but process them humanely,with dignity,for we are a country of "Immigrants",lest we forget! PS. I have been watching this situation for years,and alot of the blame should be layed on the Congress steps,...(the Gop wants the slave labor,wheresa the Dem's want the votes)!

    June 29, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  9. sule

    Oh god help us with the 40 millian Illegals in this country if they all had 1 child in US our population will be 40 milllion extra per year.
    Geeeez Never thought abot that did you Mr. Prez.

    June 29, 2009 at 11:07 am |
  10. Innocent (ZUBI)

    Immigration reform (Amnesty) will further enhance the security and economic well being of the United State. The introduction of stricter border control, employer obligation to hire documented workers and tamper proof ID is a well thought out policy.
    The introduction of millions of new tax payers will bring about some degree of enhanced revenue,consumer spending and job creation.
    Some undocumented workers have the capacity to buy homes, cars and other,but couldn't do so because of their status,the removal of this obstacle will encourage them to keep their money in our system instead of sending it to another country where the other members of the family resides. Immigration reform,"YES WE CAN"

    June 29, 2009 at 11:05 am |
  11. Chrissy

    "Anyone granted citizenship should have to prove they can support themselves and their family without public assistance." How is someone who does not have a status supposed to prove that? Isn't surviving here without any benefits enough, they have probably done more work and more hours than any of us. They came here for the dream for their children and families and if they didn't want it bad enough why would they stay? There are tons of citizens who depend on the system when they don't have to, At the end of the day unless you are Native American we are all immigrants in one shape or form and it was easier back then to come here and get established now not so much and many who came for the dream have been let down because they have been waiting for 10+ years and they are stuck. If given the opportunity I am sure they will be helpful to the American society.

    June 29, 2009 at 11:01 am |
  12. Enough

    Immigration reform = Amnesty. Polls overwhelmingly show we do NOT want this, nor can we afford this. Obama will pander to the illegals, he will do anything for more votes. After all he is the constant campaigner. Anyone granted citizenship should have to prove they can support themselves and their family without public assistance. We all know that will never happen.

    June 29, 2009 at 10:11 am |
  13. Mike in NYC

    The actual number of illegal immigrants in the US is more like 30 million. That all-but-official 12 million figure never seems to change, does it? Even though over half a million illegals enter the US every year, it never, ever seems to change. Weird.

    June 29, 2009 at 9:42 am |