Let the Games Begin…on Immigration

President Obama has announced a package of executive orders that we discussed earlier this week. As expected, the president’s actions have been met support and opposition. One thing for certain, this will be a lightning rod for both sides over the next several months. The move is expected to provide relief to some 5 million or more people in the US illegally.

The changes that the President announced last night will allow the parents of US citizens (children born here in the US) and parents of legal resident aliens (green card holders) who have been here at least five years to “come out of the shadows” and to get right with the law. The program is a delay in deportation for these affected people for at least 3 yrs.

The focus will shift to criminals and terrorists. The administration is intimating that if they don’t have to focus on the guy caught for speeding, they can do a better, more efficient job on the guys that are gang members and hardened criminals. This being the new focus, they are revised the program that requires local law enforcement to notify and hold any illegals they arrest to only detain those that are the most severe criminals.

Other changes include improvements to the programs allowing high tech workers and foreign entrepreneurs to enter and stay in the US. No changes have been made to agricultural or similarly unskilled non-ag workers. These groups have been some of the most vocal in the need for immigration reform. The changes concern many of these groups in that with a new legal status, people will move from these jobs to higher paying less laborious jobs and these employers will have no good way to replace them. This is a problem many in the ginning community are seeing right now in states with mandatory eVerify…a huge reduction in applications (not to mention qualified workers).

The details of the application process are not known yet but there will likely be documentation required for proof of residency, employment, birth certificates for them and their children etc. Many worker advocate groups and church organizations are already stating they will be helping with the process.

Those opposed to these changes have been very vocal since the rumors of the executive orders have surfaced. Everything from using the must pass appropriations bill to impeachment have been discussed. One thing is certain, this isn’t going away soon and could finally get a discussion on comprehensive reform in congress that will.

We will stay on top of this and let you as changes occur.

White House FactSheet on Immigration Action