2013 hasn’t been the year we hoped for passing reform, but that doesn’t mean there’s no hope for immigration reform in 2014! Here are some reasons why to stay positive about seeing real immigration reform happen next year:
1. House Speaker John Boehner is starting to change his tune.
Love him or hate him, as the Speaker of the House John Boehner is the gatekeeper for immigration reform in 2013 and 2014. If he’s not on board, it’s not happening. Luckily, the tail end of 2013 showed that he might be warming up to the idea of passing reform in 2014.
In addition to hiring an important immigration advisor to his staff, Boehner has started to distance himself from the far-right politicians that vehemently oppose any kind of immigration reform or assistance to undocumented immigrants. It’s obvious that he wants to improve the reputation of his party in 2014 by appealing to a larger group of voters, especially Asians and Latinos.
2. 2013 showed us that immigration reform advocates aren’t going away: protests continued to escalate as reform stalled.
Even if it wasn’t the year for immigration reform as everyone had hoped, 2013 was the year of the immigration reform activist. We saw unprecedented protests, marches, fasts, and other calls to action: Mark Zuckerberg and other tech industry leaders hosted a hackathon in partnership with young undocumented immigrant students. In October eight members of Congress were arrested at an immigration protest on the National Mall. This fall has seen protests from religious and immigrant groups, including the Fast 4 Families campaign, as well as numerous sit-ins at congressional offices and immigration enforcement centers. The momentum continues to build for immigration reform advocates as we enter 2014.
3. The House of Representatives finally managed to agree on something – and they’re now enjoying the praise for it.
2013 will surely go down as one of the worst years in recent history for the U.S. Congress. The government shut down for weeks after Congress failed to come to an agreement on the budget. Major laws with widespread voter support like immigration reform languished while Republicans worked on repealing Obamacare for the 40th time, and approval rates dropped into the teens.
Finally, in mid-December party members overcame some of their differences and overwhelmingly passed a bi-partisan budget agreement to the surprise and relief of many. The first good news out of Congress in months, the budget deal has brought a renewed sense of optimism to several legislators. Many are hopeful that this small victory will lead to bigger ones in 2014.
4. Deportations are down in 2013, and the new head of the Department of Homeland Security says deportation quotas aren’t a “good idea.”
The recent appointments of Jeh Johnson to the post of DHS Secretary and USCIS director Alejandro Mayorkas to the DHS deputy secretary position are a positive development for immigration reform. Johnson has already gone on record saying that putting quotas on immigrant deportations isn’t “a good idea.” It’s important that the two top positions in U.S. immigration enforcement are held by people who can sympathize with the current problems and complexities of U.S. immigration policy.
ICE also released its 2013 deportation numbers two weeks ago, which showed the first drop in deportations since Obama took office. Many are speculating this is a sign the government is finally recognizing that increasing deportations isn’t benefitting anyone. Aside from the humanitarian reasons for cutting down on deportations, there is a very practical one: they are not working to curb the flow of illegal immigration, nor will the government ever be able to deport the full 11+ million undocumented people currently living in the U.S.
The post 4 reasons to stay positive about immigration reform in 2014 appeared first on VISANOW Global Immigration.