Jamaica Magazine

Immigration: Will There Be Immigration Reform?

Now that the Presidential Election is over the incessant arguing and speculation about immigration reform, i.e., “amnesty” is now back on everyone’s minds. In his first four years President Obama created the deferred action for childhood arrivals program, provisional I-601 waiver process, and prosecutorial discretion in removal proceedings. Consequently, based on these achievements it is no wonder that immigrants are all hopeful that immigration reform will happen in the next four years.

Changing Momentum for Immigration Reform
In the President’s first term certain members of Congress were against immigration reform and instead argued for increased deportation and strengthening of the US/Mexico border.  However, the recent Presidential election showed that Democrats resoundingly won the Latino vote. This has led some Republicans to conclude that they have to start responding to the concerns of the fastest-growing demographic group in the United States. Recently in November 2012 Senator John McCain added his voice to a growing number of other Republicans who are calling for immigration reform. McCain is not the first Republican to stress this point. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush has become the party’s leading spokesman for a more welcoming immigration stance, warning that the pro-enforcement policy pervading much of the debate cannot compete with the growing clout of Latino voters. Shortly after President Obama won a second term, Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina appeared on “Face the Nation” and acknowledged that a hardline stance on immigration had “built a wall between the Republican Party and the Hispanic community.”

Past Immigration Reform Policies
In the past Immigration reform has focused on individuals who have resided in the United States for a substantial length of time.  Individuals who were outside the country when immigration reform was passed have generally not been allowed to benefit from receiving new immigration benefits.  In addition, historically Immigration has required that individuals provide proof of their residency in the United States, good moral character, i.e., payment of taxes and minor or no criminal history. These types of requirements are common place and recently some of these requirements were the very same requirements that were required under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program.  Therefore, it stands to reason that these same type of documents or at least similar documents will be required if and when immigration reform is enacted.

Get Ready for Immigration Reform
This is the President’s second term  and we are hopeful that things will be different this time. The President has repeatedly said that Republican’s stance has preventing negotiations on a comprehensive immigration reform bill. Now that President Obama has won a second term we are now hopeful that Republicans will have an incentive to come to the table with an interest in getting immigration reform done. It now appears that Republicans are willing to change their tune from stubbornness to compromise since they now clearly see that they have lost the Latino vote.

If you think that you may benefit from Immigration reform we would like to hear from you. We will be monitoring all immigration reform bills that are introduced in Congress to provide you with the updates on immigration reform. Please send your contact information to us at sbyars@ byarslawlawgroup.com.

Disclaimer: This article is a broad overview of common immigration questions. This article is provided as a public service and is not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship. Any reliance on the information contained herein is taken at your own risk. The information provided in this article should never replace informed counsel when specific immigration-related guidance is needed. 

About the Writer:
Safiya Byars ([email protected]) is the founder and senior partner of the Law Office of Safiya Byars. She is a native of Kingston, Jamaica. Attorney Byars’ firm works exclusively with couples, families, and individuals to create a clear path to their permanent residence “green card” by teaching them the best ways to get an approval while reducing their processing times and in some cases their immigration fees.  Her office is located at 160 Clairemont Avenue, Ste. 200, Decatur, Georgia 30030. Attorney Byars handles all immigration matters, deportation defense, family law, and criminal issues. Attorney Byars can be reached at 404-992-6506/678-954-5809 or via email at: [email protected], www.byarslawgroup.com.

About the author

Safiya Byars, Esq

Safiya Byars is the founder and senior partner of the Byars Firm. Attorney Byars serves as the Chair of the Family Immigration Continuing Learning Education and the Vice-Chair of the Immigration Law Section of the State Bar of Georgia. She is a native of Kingston, Jamaica. The Byars firm is located at 3720 Chamblee Dunwoody Road, Suite D2, Chamblee, Georgia 30341. The Byars Firm handles Immigration, Family, and Estate Planning matters. We can be reached at 678-736-5600 and email: [email protected].