President Obama announced last week his plans for immigration reform and the Senate actually agreed with him, for the most part. The plan includes a proposal for a more straightforward path to legalize the 11 million undocumented immigrants already in the U.S. Sounds great, but the Senate wants a little more.
According to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.), no illegal immigrant already living in the U.S. should become a fulltime citizen until more border security is implemented. He said illegal immigrants in the U.S. would be granted “probationary legal status,” but would not receive a green card until the border is secure.
Of course, the Obama administration disagreed, arguing these actions would cause a state of legal limbo for the 11 million. The pathway to citizenship must be more straightforward and faster.
It is quite tenacious for the Obama administration to finally come up with such a reform the likes of which haven’t been seen since the immigration reform of 1986. It is also very impressive to get the Senate to sign on to such a reform. Alas though, what comes up must come down and as expectations get higher and higher for the reform, it will all come crashing down if the administration and the Senate do not find a suitable solution to their differences in the plan, no matter how miniscule they are.
We thought this was a sign that members of the U.S. government were actually playing well together and that the rest of the Obama term was going to be rainbows and unicorns, as far as immigration was concerned. It should not come as a surprise that this is not the case.
The case is this: immigration is a solution-less controversial issue that will continue to be such until someone in the administration or the Senate gathers up the courage to swallow their pride and start negotiations. Yes, they both agree on the reform plan, in a general sense, but when it comes down to the nitty-gritty details, it all falls apart like always.
It is a good start though. That much can be said. It shows Obama has some guts to take the challenge of immigration on at the start of his second term rather than putting it on the back burner for the next president to handle. The ball for immigration reform has started rolling. Now the only thing to figure out is how to get both teams to get along without beating each other up. Otherwise, they will delay this reform even longer, getting nothing done, again.