Thursday, May 28, 2009

Immigration Reform

One of Barack Obama’s key campaign promises to Latino voters was to make comprehensive immigration legislation a priority in his first year in office. With Obama’s nomination of Latina Judge Sonia Sotomayor, more Latinos than ever are supporting Obama. Obama’s goal is a “policy reform that controls immigration and makes it an orderly system.” The system may, as some reports suggest, involve recognizing millions of illegal immigrants who have been already working here, giving them permanent access to jobs. The problem with that strategy is that, especially in our feeble economic condition, there are just as many unemployed Americans without jobs. But if Obama goes the route of sending illegal immigrants back to their native country, the question of amnesty will arise. Most reports indicate that Obama will not take a such conservative path, because it’s sure to anger many of his constituents.

Obama has, though, recently continued one of George W. Bush’s immigration programs, causing at least a little worry among Democrats. Expanding the program (30% increase in funds), which is what the Obama administration is doing, could result in a substantial increase in identifying illegal immigrants for deportation. The program aims at routinely checking the immigration status of inmates at local jails, something that isn’t done all that often. One of the problems of immigration is that it innately causes a bigger government that hands out benefits like food stamps and social security. For fiscal conservatives and small government libertarians, this can be quite an issue because it expands the welfare state. Immigrants know of these benefits, for sure, and that’s a major reason why they decide to come.

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