Immigration activists, finding themselves without the prior Obama administration’s backing, are now open to negotiating away the “pathway to citizenship” option they were so adamant about, according to The Hill.
Jose Antonio Vargas, the undocumented founder of Define American, an immigration advocacy group, has conceded that negotiations may need to move forward even if it means taking away the “pathway to citizenship option” for those already here illegally.
Vargas said, “This is a different level of panic and fear in our families that I don’t think we can take anything off the table.”
This new way of looking at immigration reform by the immigration advocacy groups is a much different thought process than the one they had during the Obama administration when advocacy groups pushed for “pathway to citizenship” legislation for the millions of illegals presently living in America.
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During Tuesday’s congressional speech, President Trump said he wants to work on an “overhaul of the immigration system, saying “the time is right” for a deal if both parties are willing to compromise.” However, he alluded to an agreement that could provide some form of legal status for undocumented people but said it would not include a path to citizenship.
Democrats and immigration advocacy groups don’t agree with the non-pathway to citizenship option because they feel it would create a group of second-class citizens without voting rights.
Republicans are adamantly opposed to the Democrats plan of “naturalizing” millions of illegals, who would then, in keeping with tradition, vote Democrat.
But many Democrats and the advocacy groups are now discussing whether to keep pushing that agenda or lighten up on it, as they begin negotiations with Trump and the Republicans this year.
Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) said, “First we want to see what he proposes, but there could be some tough choices for Democrats in there.” He followed up with, “You don’t have the White House with you. It’s a different dynamic.”
One of the catalysts for the advocacy group’s change of heart is undoubtedly the strong and rapid action taken by the Trump administration when it comes to deporting illegals and enforcing immigration laws.
Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, said:
“[Trump’s] actions speak louder than his words. This is an administration that has decided to start their first month with a shock and awe approach to immigrants and refugees. They can start by undoing the harm that’s been done in this first month, and then we’ll see that this administration is really serious about coming to the table.”
Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) said:
“The discussion has to be: Are we setting up two tiers of residents in this country? The desperation you see in the community [means] many people would jump at that opportunity [of legalization] freely, if they could be safe with their families. But the consequences of ‘everything but citizenship’ policy,” he added, “is something that many people would have a lot of trouble with.”
In his speech on Tuesday, President Trump also touted the merit-based immigration system, similar to those in Canada and Australia, and said, “The current outdated system depresses wages for our poorest workers and puts great pressure on taxpayers.”
Mario H. Lopez, president of the Hispanic Leadership Fund, a Republican advocacy organization, is against the merit-based immigration plan, and said, “I think that he meant anyone who comes into a country has to be able to support themselves financially. Does that mean only rich people get in?”
H/T: The Hill
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