As the Senate continues to shepherd a comprehensive immigration reform bill through the legislative process (day two of mark-up in the Senate Judiciary Committee begins tomorrow), it becomes clear how many issues are at stake in reform and how interconnected they are. It’s also overwhelming at times. That’s why the American Immigration Council is attempting to divide the issues into smaller discussions on our wiki, ThinkImmigration.org.
A few of the current conversations ask for your thoughts around the U.S. relationship with Mexico, changes being suggested to family immigration and ways can we improve the immigration court system:
- Relations between Mexico and the United States are often reduced to just two issues: border security and unauthorized immigration. Lawmakers and commentators who call for the construction of a fence along all 2,000 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border, for instance, tend to portray Mexico as if it were a hostile nation with which we are at war; a source of law-breaking migrants, dangerous smugglers, illegal drugs, and little else. However, the reality of the U.S.-Mexico relationship is far more complex than this caricature suggests. How do you see it? Share your views here.
- Some members and advocates hope to strengthen to ability of U.S. citizens to reunite with their older married children or their brother and sisters. The Senate bill proposes eliminating the brother and sister category, and restricting petitions for adult married children to individuals over 31. How should the Senate bill define family? Share your views here.
- Although it does not provide as far-reaching an overhaul of the immigration courts as many would like, the bill does contain some important provisions specific to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), the adjudicatory body that reviews thousands of decisions by the nation’s immigration courts each year. Over the past fifteen years, the BIA has adopted various “streamlining” measures, including the elimination of three-judge panels in a large number of cases and the issuance of summary opinions that provide little or no analysis (including the notorious “affirmance without opinion” or “AWO”). As a result, the quality of the decisions, as well as the integrity of the system, has suffered tremendously. What more should be done with respect to the BIA? Share your views here.
There is no doubt that the Senate bill will provide sweeping changes and necessary upgrades to our Nation’s immigration laws. However, without the input of the public and those impacted by the changes, it’s hard to know what unintended consequences could be brought. So share your ideas and experiences with us at ThinkImmigration.org.