Like most political issues, it is nearly impossible to not have an opinion about the current illegal immigration situation (hence the ongoing battle in Congress). While immigration reform is still a hot topic in the news, will there be any resolution in 2015?
Republicans recently announced their plans to offset President Obama’s immigration reform efforts, where The House of Representatives will vote on legislation funding the Department of Homeland Security, whose budgetary authority expires February 27 which was tied to a spending bill passed last month that restricted the agency’s subsidies.
According to Yahoo!News, “While the bill would provide for normal DHS operations and fully fund border security and counter-terrorism from March through September, the end of fiscal year 2015, it includes special provisions that prevent Obama from carrying out his promised unilateral actions to suspend the deportation threat for millions of immigrants illegally in the United States.”
Furthermore, overturning the president’s previous executive order would mean that a 2012 provision imposed by Obama that allowed certain immigrants who were brought to the country as children would no longer be in effect.
Tony Payan, director of The Mexico Center at Rice University’s Baker Institute, believes that President Obama’s actions could help immigrants to become “a little more integrated in a legal, formal way into the American economy.” However, with issues still unresolved in Congress, many immigrants are hesitant to register with the government. “Once they surrender their personal information to the government, once the government knows who they are and where they are, and if the next president isn’t willing to extend that temporary protection status, they will be vulnerable to be found very quickly and to be denied.”
So what does this mean for the American workforce? A recent study published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that, “23.1 million adult (16-plus) immigrants (legal and illegal) were working in November 2007 and 25.1 million were working in November of this year — a two million increase. For natives, 124.01 million were working in November 2007 compared to 122.56 million in November 2014 — a 1.46 million decrease. Although all of the employment growth has gone to immigrants, natives accounted for 69 percent of the growth in the 16 and older population from 2007 to 2014.” The BLS projects that, “It will take many years of sustained job growth just to absorb the enormous number of people, primarily native-born, who are currently not working and return the country to the labor force participation rate of 2007. If we continue to allow in new immigration at the current pace or choose to increase the immigration level, it will be even more difficult for the native-born to make back the ground they have lost in the labor market.”
All in all, with Congress so deeply divided it is unlikely that a resolution to immigration reform will happen anytime soon. Analysts say that both parties are likely to come to some compromises concerning reform in 2015, but full reform isn’t likely until after the 2016 presidential election.
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