Changes in US Immigration Policy Will Change the Lives of Millions/ By Rafaella Zabot-Hall

The reform discussed in the House will affect not only immigrants but also the lives of American citizens.

The House has been debating over the Immigration Reform bill over the last few weeks, after it was passed in the Senate last month. This bill, if it were to pass, could change the lives of millions of people – both immigrants and American citizens.

President Barak Obama’s Immigration Reform bill includes four parts: First, to strengthen America’s borders; second, focus on companies that hire undocumented workers; third, make undocumented workers pay taxes, learn English and pass background checks as a way towards citizenship; and fourth, to focus on families, workers, and employers in the immigration system.

When the bill passed through the Senate in June, although there was a strong Republican opposition, all four parts of this bill were agreed upon, in a 68-to-32 vote. The bill has now been discussed in the House for over a couple weeks, with the debate focusing on the pathway towards citizenship for undocumented immigrants. While some in the Republican Party are in favor, others want this piece of the reform to be taken out completely. President Obama proposed this bill by saying that America has a broken immigration system, and he will not allow this bill to pass unless all four parts are agreed upon. In a speech he gave on January 29, 2013, the president stated that without a way for undocumented citizens to have a pathway towards citizenship, 11 million people would be left out of this reform.

One argument voiced by politicians is that the immigration system in America has not been benefiting neither Americans nor immigrants. The country’s borders are not managed well, which makes America an easy target for illegal immigrants, and there needs to be a fair and tough way for undocumented immigrants already here to be able to become legal.


Rally for Immigration Reform, May 2010, Ann Arbor, MI / Credit: Sasha Y. Kimel

Rally for Immigration Reform, May 2010,
Ann Arbor, MI
/ Credit: Sasha Y. Kimel

An approval of the bill will affect the lives of many people, and public opinion on it is varied. When asked by the Pew Research Center in a survey on 28 June 2013, 71% of Americans said they think that illegal immigrants should be able to stay in America, and 77% agreed that an increase in border security needs to be included in the reform. Even though illegal immigration is a much debated topic, immigration in general is also discussed. Only 31% of people asked said they are satisfied with the amount of immigrants allowed into America each year, while 25% want an increase, and 36% a decrease.

Shawn, who works in the Boston Common, said when interviewed that immigration is beneficial towards America because “moving around is good… Immigrants  share different cultures and perspectives.” Kathy, who also works in the Common, said, “immigrants make up our society, there should be more ways for immigrants to become citizens, especially children of immigrants.”

This reform, if it were to pass, will change the lives of millions of peoples. Senator Ted Cruz told CNN in June that he believes the bill will pass the Senate “with a substantial margin,” but “absent major revisions … this bill will crash and burn in the House. And it is designed to do so.” Senator Cruz was right about this bill passing in the Senate, but will he also be right about the death of the bill in the House?

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