Stalemate : United States immigration reform efforts 2005-2007
journal contributionposted on 04.05.2017 by Leal, David
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The author discusses national immigration reform efforts in the United States from 2005 to 2007. The new laws proposed during these three years ranged from enforcement strategies, which focused on removals and deterrence, to comprehensive reform, which would provide a pathway to citizenship for many existing unauthorised (also known as illegal) immigrants. While the Republicans controlled both chambers of Congress in 2005 and 2006, the party was split between pro-migration business interests and more sceptical grassroots constituencies. After 2007, the Democrats had majorities in the House and Senate but encountered their own internal divisions and electoral concerns. In addition, procedural issues—particularly the need for a sixty-vote supermajority in the Senate—helped prevent a compromise from emerging. Immigration sceptics opposed legalisation, which they termed ‘amnesty’, while others criticised enforcement-only approaches as unworkable as well as problematic for the economy. While President Bush favored a comprehensive approach, the only legislation to ultimately pass was a 700-mile extension of the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. Copyright. Monash University and the author/s