Immigration reform now a few weeks past the starting block

In case anyone is keeping track, we’re way past the starting point for something to have been done about immigration reform.

Whether or not it is the State of the Union address, media clips on T.V., speeches given in public or in the house or news conferences, the once bright hope for immigration reform to take shape this term seems to be losing its luster —- again. The State of the Union address really didn’t make much of a difference to the immigration reform debate. Sadly most are beginning to wonder if anything will make a difference. Gun control, the shaky economy, the fiscal cliff and what’s next are consuming more time than ever. Immigration reform is slowly being shoved to be back of the queue once again.

It’s once bright spark of hope, fired by campaign rhetoric, and bolstered by the program for undocumented workers, seems to be the sum total of acknowledgement that immigration reform is still vitally necessary, and sooner rather than later, or never.

Political pundits still seem to think that reform will get done and that both parties will actually make an effort to sing from the same song sheet. If you pay any attention to what a politician says, the vast majority of them have been mumbling reform is crucial because the system is broken, since the election. This is the first time in a long time that both parties are attempting to make something work. This hope, faint as it may be, is set against the backdrop of various states passing their own immigration laws over the last five years. And what a mess that has created. How will that mare’s nest of legislation be addressed when immigration is introduced? Or is that a moot point?

And the tide of public opinion? Where does it stand? According to recent polling, 56 percent of American citizens favor the government doing something about immigration reform, and including some method for immigrants to have a path to citizenship. The cries of fairness and justice are beginning to replace the rants of deportation and border security. Many news items include mention of other polls that reveal almost 64 percent of American voters also think undocumented immigrants should be given a chance to apply for legal citizenship. Interestingly, only 27 percent supported beefed up border security and deportation.

The long and short of this issue is that the voters are ‘done’ with it and they want their elected officials to just get on with it and ‘do’ something. At this juncture, that something would likely be just about anything that indicates something is being done about the issue. Some think it is as simple as just offering citizenship to those that are here illegally to clear the deck and then do something about the immigrants still trying to come to the U.S. illegally. But is it that simple?

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