If Immigration Reform is quickly done, who loses?

TW: deportation, heterosexism, racist profiling, economic exploitation

Immigration reform has reentered the national discussion it seems, with Congress and President Obama contending over the nature of the reforms and which specific versions of them to establish as law. The newest word out there seems to be that Obama wants this done and done yesterday, which is some nice enthusiasm but still worrying to hear for several reasons, because there’s two different readings of Obama’s statements on this.


(Protesters during the 2012 US presidential campaign, demand equal immigration as well as marriage rights – one of the many ways that inclusive reforms extend beyond legal recognition of same-sex marriage.)

In short, does Obama want immigration form done fast or does he think comprehensive immigration reform should be done quickly? The existing plan in the House of Representatives is one that restricts familial rights to immigration to male-female couples and their children, meaning that it essentially categorizes same-sex couples and their children as irrelevant kinship ties that deportation rightfully severs. In the name of reform arriving quickly, will Obama accept that reduction in the plan?

Likewise, existing enforcement goes beyond corrupt. It’s coercive. It’s essentially using class inequality to drive a report-on-your-neighbors mentality in many sections of this country. It’s fundamentally exploitative of the poor as a result in addition to just poorly designed (as it leads to false accusations based primarily on racism). Even more likely is that these astounding problems with how immigration laws are enforced won’t become part of the conversation, especially if it’s a quick one. Is having immigration reform of some sort so important that it’s more important that it’s quickly passed than that it’s done right?

Time will tell.

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