University discusses immigration reform
Published: Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, November 5, 2013 02:11
The U.S. Senate passed immigration reform legislation with a 68 to 32 bipartisan vote in late June 2013, but the bill is still awaiting action from the U.S. House of Representatives.
According to the White House’s official website, President Barack Obama’s “common sense” proposal has four key principles: strengthening border security, modernizing legal immigration, providing undocumented immigrants a legal path to earned citizenship and holding employers accountable for hiring undocumented workers.
According to Bryan Marshall, a political science professor at Miami University, the democratic party is much more supportive of the legislation than the republicans who control a majority in the House.
“Republicans are going to be reluctant, I think, to bring any kind of holistic or systematic immigration reform on the House floor because it’s going to have a very good chance of dividing the party,” Marshall said. “That’s not something you want to deal with going into the 2014 election.”
Marshall said his understanding is that the House wants to wait on an immigration reform package until after the 2014 midterm elections.
U.S. Representative Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) was the first Republican to co-sponsor the House immigration bill introduced on Oct. 2, 2013.
Marshall said some Republicans oppose the bill because they believe it is granting amnesty to undocumented immigrants. However, he said there are many requirements to meet in order to earn American citizenship.
“I think that those requirements are sufficiently productive in terms of people who would want to participate in the program would really have to be invested in the United States, American culture and American society,” Marshall said.
Obama insisted in a speech given on Oct. 24 that the economy would grow by $1.4 trillion more than it would without passing this legislation.
“It’s not fair to businesses and middle-class families who play by the rules when we allow companies that are trying to undercut the rules work in the shadow economy, to hire folks at lower wages or no benefits, no overtime, so that somehow they get a competitive edge from breaking the rules,” Obama said.
Obama also said that 11 million undocumented immigrants currently reside in the United States.
“It would make sure that everybody plays by the same rules by providing a pathway to earned citizenship for those who are here illegally,” Obama said. “One that includes passing a background check, learning English, paying taxes, paying a penalty, getting in line behind everyone who is trying to come here the right way.”
In terms of impacting Miami students and faculty, Marshall said immigration reform has the potential to bring families together and help increase diversity among the student body and surrounding populations in southwestern Ohio.