How Comprehensive Immigration Reform Will Change the Country

Despite all the media hoopla, many Americans don’t really understand what comprehensive immigration reform is or means.

Unfortunately, Americans don’t understand what comprehensive immigration reform is and honestly, it’s a good bet the politicians don’t understand what it really means either. Mostly, it seems to be a moving target whose reason for being changes depending on when an election happens.

Here are some good questions to ask with regard to CIR. Does CIR mean amnesty? Does it mean stepped up raids and deportation? Does it mean stricter border enforcement? Does is mean incarceration followed by deportation? What will the nation do with the approximately 12 million or so illegal immigrants in the country? How will this problem ever be nipped in the bud?

The answers are going to be very hard to come up with, since every person in the U.S. has a personal opinion of what CIR really is, which can range from a fair system that allows illegal immigrants to come to the country and be given status to a zero tolerance of illegal immigrants that are apprehended and shipped back home. In other words, everyone has an opinion, everyone thinks something should be done about the problem, but no one seems to have an answer to what needs to be done – still.

There are several camps on all sides of this hot button issue looking for reasonable solutions. The most common opinion that most have in the GOP is that the border needs to be secure before the country even starts to look at the larger issues involved in immigration reform.  The fact that those two issues seem diametrically opposed to each other seems to be something that a large portion of the population is missing and yet the debate over what to do continues, apparently, without a clear grasp of the issues.

Another camp makes reference to enforcing the laws that are already on the books; something that has been done for years and really isn’t a new issue. In general, this comment typically refers to the fact that companies/employers are mandated to fill out I-9 forms for all their workers in order to check their immigration status.

The purpose of these forms, if they are actually filled out, is to find out if undocumented workers are getting jobs. And therein lies another conundrum; forms that are not filled out or not filled out accurately. Don’t think that happens? It most certainly does, and in fact, there is a large underground “economy” of undocumented workers whose status is questionable. Yet they still have a job. They have jobs because Americans don’t want the kinds of jobs immigrants do – seasonal agricultural work. And that’s another can of worms.

But, back to the question of what is comprehensive immigration reform? Currently, it’s a question that really doesn’t have an answer or it has a wildly different answer depending on who you talk to about it. In either event, it’s a concept going nowhere, mores the pity.

Sally Odell – Rifkin & Fox-Isicoff, PA is an immigration lawyer in Miami with immigration law offices in Orlando and Miami Florida. To learn more, visit

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