DMI Blog

Cristina Jimenez

The Obama Administration Can’t Ignore Immigration Reform for Too Long

As President Obama was preparing to address congress last Tuesday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials raided an engine remanufacturing plant in Bellingham, Washington—28 undocumented workers were arrested and put in deportation proceedings.

This was the first worksite raid under the Obama administration—yet the President did not mention the issue of immigration in his address.

The raid was a surprise to everyone. Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano stated that she did not know of the raid before it happened and ordered a review of the operation. Clearly, as a report recently revealed, the Department of Homeland Security is dysfunctional.

The failure of the federal government to provide a comprehensive solution for our immigration system has only resulted in ineffective enforcement policies and forced states to consider their own policies. Colorado, for example, is currently battling over a bill that would allow some undocumented students to pay in-state college tuition. As the President emphasized the importance of education for the nation’s economic recovery, Colorado’s debate over in-state tuition is leaving hundreds of students without a college education.

At the national level, the policy battles continue. During the debate over SCHIP and the stimulus package, Republicans introduced amendments to address immigration and the issue of undocumented workers. As Simon Rosenberg argues, “progress on many important domestic priorities this year may get caught up in the debate on how to best fix our broken immigration system.”

Policy battles, at the state and national level, will continue unless the Obama administration takes action. Ignoring the need to reform our immigration system would significantly delay every other legislation debate in congress.

Cristina Jimenez: Author Bio | Other Posts
Posted at 2:00 AM, Mar 03, 2009 in Immigration
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