Immigration reform likely to happen this fall
Congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) is unsure that the reform will come up soon, saying that it depends on the White House and its priorities.
"I think the advocates including me would like to see it this fall, but that is more hope than a prediction at this point," said Frank. "We are waiting to see what the president decides, because it will be to some extent up to him."
O Jornal contacted the White House Office of Media Affairs for a comment as to when President Barack Obama would address immigration reform. As of press time, the office did not return the call.
National Immigration Forum in Washington, D.C. (NIF), which advocates for comprehensive immigration reform, sent on Jan.16 a letter to President Obama urging him to take action.
Ali Noorani, NIF's executive director, said that his organization had several meetings with the Obama transition team and that since the submission of the letter those conversations have continued.
"We are expecting a move before the end of 2009, but it's imperative that people across the country push the members of Congress to support immigration reform," said Noorani. "The president wants to do immigration reform and we need to give him the opportunity and political space to do so."
Noorani added that the new executive order on detention and interrogation tactics was a significant victory because immigrants are less likely to be treated inhumanely.
The letter sent to President Obama was signed by more than 1,200 agencies in 39 states. In Massachusetts more than 130 signed the letter while only one agency in Rhode Island signed it.
The Immigrants' Assistance Center of New Bedford undersigned the NIF letter.
"I am tired of seeing politicians using Immigration reform as a political football, and then they get elected and not hear from them again," said Helena Marques, IAC's executive director. "The last time I was in Washington, I was told there would be some kind of draft sometime in May. I am hoping... but I am also skeptical."
But there are signals from the Obama administration that point to comprehensive immigration reform.
Advocates say the appointments of Janet Napolitano at the Department of Homeland Security, Hilda L. Solis at the Department of Labor, and Cecilia Munoz at the Intra-government Affairs for the White House - all which are supporters of comprehensive immigration reform - are a positive sign.
Paco Fabiam, communications director for American's Voice, which is for common-sense immigration reform, believes that those appointments coupled with Sen. Reid's intentions are signs that immigration reform will happen sooner rather than later.
"Obama made a promise on the campaign that he would take it up on the first year," said Fabian. "Economy is the priority, but immigration reform, bringing immigrants out of the shadows and to have them contribute to the tax system, can be a part of the recovery."
President Obama has also impending decisions that will signal his intent on immigration reform.
By Feb. 9, his administration has to take a position in AFL-CIO v. Chertoff, about whether the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can advise employers who receive no "match letters" from Social Security Administration to terminate the named employees, if those employees cannot resolve discrepancies in their Social Security numbers.
Honestly i need that right now. Me and my family can lose our house anytime since my parents stopped and can't pay our mortgage and i can't do anything about it. It angers me so much. It's a sad to feel like you're handicapped but you're really not. GO Dream act.