Those who have been following the immigration reform issue over the last year could very likely think that the immigration reform movement has passed and there is no hope for any reform bill to get through Congress this year. However, one needn't give up hope quite yet! There is still a small window of opportunity this summer for members of Congress to pass a bill related to immigration reform.
With that in mind, community leaders throughout the state of Arizona gathered together to hopefully encourage the president and lawmakers to pass a bill this summer. Those getting together included business, agricultural, and religious leaders. During the meeting, they reminded the public that immigration reform will benefit not only immigrants, but the economy as a whole.
“If Congress wants to give this economy a real shot of adrenaline, it will send the president an immigration-reform bill,” said Garrick Taylor. Taylor is the senior vice president of government relations and communications at the Arizona Chamber of Commerce. Next to him stood more than ten other community leaders at a press conference held at the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce.
In addition to the press conference in Arizona, there were five other states throughout the western part of the U.S. that were also holding news conferences during that time. This was all done with the idea that these actions would give Congress the extra push it needs to get immigration reform passed in 2014.
These community leaders see the next few months as the last chance for Congress to pass any type of immigration reform because once the summer is over, mid-term elections will be at the top of the agenda. Those participating in the event sent letters to members of Congress in Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico and Nevada. Each letter contained a similar message: to pass immigration this year. The letters also included estimates showing that immigration reform would ultimately add $1.5 trillion to the United States economy over the next decade. "From an economic perspective, it's absolutely essential that we pass immigration reform," said James Lundy, president and CEO of Alliance Bank of Arizona and chair of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council.
Immigration reform has faced challenges since the proposed bill passed the Senate, but stalled in the House. In May of this year, President Obama announced that he is still hoping that Congress can create a version of the bill that shows compromise and maintains some of the most important aspects of the original bill. Specifically, the president wants to see a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who are currently living in the U.S.
President Obama's statements came one day after House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), said that “Republicans are ready to move forward on immigration reform this year as long as Obama demonstrates he is willing to enforce any border-security measures that pass.”
What do you think? Is this enough to finally get immigration reform passed? Will we see a positive end result this summer, or we will be forced to wait another year?