Weekly Immigration Update; immigration

Weekly Immigration Update: Major Developments on CIR and Health Care (again)

If last week's health care debate highlighted anything, it is the urgent need to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation. This week, Rep. Luis Gutierrez announced his intention to introduce Comprehensive Immigration Reform Legislation in October. Stay tuned for more details.

Also, this Sunday marked President Obama's third or fourth interview as President with Jorge Ramos, news anchor for Univision.  During his Sunday morning show, Al Punto, Jorge Ramos asked Pres. Obama about mixed-status families and coverage under health care bill, and he asked the President if his change in language from describing undocumenteds as "undocumented immigrants" during his Presidential campaign to "illegal immigrants" more recently.  The President explained that when using the latter term, he is merely repeating in his answers the term employed in questions. 

In May 2008, in another Al Punto interview, President Obama committed himself to passing "immigration reform in my first year in office."  Yesterday Jorge Ramos cited that interview and asked if we'll have reform by January 20, to which the President responded that immigration reform remains a priority:

In other news, this week the U.S. GAO (Government Accountability Office), released a report on SBInet, the current program aimed at securing U.S. borders.  GAO found that SBInet technology capabilities have not yet been deployed, and the impact of border fencing has not been sufficiently assessed by USCBP.

Last week we touched upon the senseless arguments against immigrants in the midst of the health care debate. This week Dylan Ratigan unraveled some of the confusion and made sense of the craziness that permeated the debate on Morning Meeting as he interviewed Andrew Romano of Newsweek. Romano presented the arguments we discussed before as to why it would make policy sense to allow undocumenteds into the exchange:
1. Immigrants are younger and healthier
2. Goal should be to minimize the difference in labor costs between different types of workers, not increase them.  When you withhold benefits from some workers and not others, that only hurts native workers.
3. Because immigrants are healthier for the most part, their use of emergency room care (which taxpayers pay for) would decrease if they had health insurance. For more, here is the clip:

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