April 10th, 2009
03:39 PM ET
9 years ago

Immigration reform: Will the climate ever be right?

(CNN) - Word that President Obama might pile comprehensive immigration reform onto his already-full plate reignited calls from some for an urgent overhaul and brought cries from others that the timing couldn't be worse.

"It's more important than ever to address immigration reform right now," said Ian Haney Lopez, a professor of law at the University of California-Berkeley.

The financial and cultural dynamics of the economy make reform so urgent, he said.

"I worry that in the context of an economic downturn, the cultural response of that economic downturn will be to search for someone to blame, and that someone usually turns out to be a foreigner or someone perceived as foreigner," he said.

As a financial dynamic, he said, the economy also calls for immigration reform: "It's a mistake to understand immigrants as a drain on the economy. Immigrants in fact are the engine of development in this country and always have been," he said.

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Filed under: Immigration
soundoff (59 Responses)
  1. Chi Town

    Either side you are on... you can't fix a sink with the water running.

    April 10, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  2. yourcommentisawaitingliberalization

    This won't happen until close to the next election when he needs the votes. The socialization, some might say communisation of this country is the Obama administrations first priority. George Soros needs that first so he can make more billions.

    April 10, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  3. Dae NYC

    I understand why people are easily upset by the so-called “amnesty,” but its time to stop this fighting and be realistic about immigration reform: millions of families have set down roots and become productive members of our society. For the most part, they are God-fearing and hard working people with strong family values. I would like nothing more than to see these decent folks come out of the shadows, start paying taxes, and contribute to the recovery of our economy.

    April 10, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  4. John

    Will the climate ever be right for immigration reform?

    Not until immigrant laborers demand and receive the same wages as domestics.

    Follow the money, peeps.

    April 10, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  5. pat C.

    breaking the law is just that .......BREAKING THE LAW!!
    illegals should be sent home an apply like others that have spent money and time waiting to come to this country.
    the hospital in my community is going broke because of so many welfare cases. we pay our dr.s and emergency rooms dearly for being sick,and a fortune for sending our kids to school, it is time for the government to get tough with any persons here not paying their fair share, i for one am sick of footing the bill for illegals.

    April 10, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  6. Ajay Jain, Garland, TX, USA

    12 million potential immigrants! NEVER !!

    April 10, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  7. Allen

    obama needs to stop waffing and do something about this serious situation. Starting with his aunt, who is illegally in our country. She should be used as an example. I think it's BS, that he didn't know that she is illegally here. This country should be ONLY taking care of legal citizens and not illegals in this country. Thats Mexicos problem NOT the US. So stop making excuses and do something about it already.

    April 10, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  8. Jon in CA

    Wow... here is the mindset of educators (like Obama):

    "I worry that in the context of an economic downturn, the cultural response of that economic downturn will be to search for someone to blame, and that someone usually turns out to be a foreigner or someone perceived as foreigner," he said.

    Yeah.... Let's give AMNESTY to illegal aliens because they need "protection" from disgruntled Americans??

    Yo Professor – if it's SO SCARY for illegals ... SEND THEM BACK and they'll be REALLY protected from disgruntled Americans.

    Nahh... such an idea would NEVER cross your mind. It would mean ENFORCING the laws.

    April 10, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  9. alvino

    As long as wingnuts fear that immigrants will take their white collar jobs, there will be no reform.

    April 10, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  10. Minnesotan

    The climate will never be right. But we need to fix our immigration system to make it skill based and not familial based. America needs skilled and educated workers, not people coming in to our country because they have a 'cousin.'

    April 10, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "He's not the Messiah you know, so he can't fix everything instantly!!"

    "He didn't completely fix the economy in just 2 months so he's a complete failure!!"
    "He's doing too much and spreading himself too thin, so he should do less and try to accomplish less because he's not concentrating hard enough on each thing!"

    "He needs to do immigration reform along with everything else RIGHT NOW!!!"
    Anyone else starting to see the pattern here?

    April 10, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  12. Rick Oliphant

    STOP!!! Saying illegal immigrants are not a drain on the U.S. economy is a lie. It's like saying a good for nothing drunk is not a drain on his family because the wife works really hard and is able to keep the family financially stable. Define success. Most Americans want to kick this drunk, (illegal aliens,) out of the house! By God, it's our house, our decision. However, amnesty supporters, and it seems most politicians, want to keep this drunk in the house and try and rehabilitate him. Let him rehabilitate outside on his own, and then we'll invite him back into the home. You can't fix a problem if you're not willing to fully admit that you have one. This article makes a serious flaw, it states that immigrants drive our economy, this is true, however it equates immigrants with ILLEGAL immigrants. Illegal immigrants do nothing positive for our country.

    April 10, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  13. arithmetic is liberal

    No, it won't. Not because there are two sides, but because there are FOUR, none of which will ever agree with the other.

    Here are the four groups in this debate:
    1. Full amnesty for all illegal aliens regardless of situation
    2. Partial amnesty for illegal aliens who have families in the US
    3. Round up, send back all illegal aliens, let them find legal path to citizenship.
    4. Round up everyone with a Hispanic surname whose family entered the US after the 1846 US-Mexico war.

    I align myslf with group 2.

    April 10, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  14. pauldia

    The climate is right now. I recently read an legal brief which state we have an illegal immigrant in the White House!

    April 10, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  15. Lesley Anne

    It seems to me that serious debate needs to happen in this country about the truths of immigration. I believe that there are too many prejudices fueling the attitudes toward immigrants.

    April 10, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  16. Farley Hineman

    Will this be another crisis that will cause the country to collapse unless congress votes it in his way without reading it?

    April 10, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  17. Sandra

    IMMIGRATION REFORM....gotta love the sugar coated words, call it what it is.....Amnesty for all the people here illegally. Rewarding those who broke the law. The cost put on the tax payer is billions every year, just take a look at California and the taxes we pay. To say they contribute more than they cost is a downright lie. I am for anyone coming here legally who can support themselves and not be supported by the tax payers.

    April 10, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  18. Mississippi Mike

    Illegal aliens should take some blame for unemployment, depressed wages and high housing prices. Every job that an illegal alien has is one that a US citizen can't have. When illegal aliens work for less than a US citizen would work and their employer doesn't pay income taxes, it drives the wages a US citizen would earn lower than they would otherwise be. Finally, illegal aliens need a place to live and their being here increase demand which increases prices. These three reason are enough to make the case against allowing illegals to stay here.

    Wanting illegal aliens removed from the country isn't about finding a scapegoat for our economic crisis, it's about upholding the law, defending our economy and keeping criminals out of our country.

    April 10, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  19. urban

    Yes, Immigrants in fact are the engine of development in this country, but they are legal immigrants, not illegal. And yes, illegal immigrants are a drain on the economy. There is quite a difference. Unfortunately this article fails to address that!

    April 10, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  20. bk

    Obama wants their votes. Plain and simple.

    April 10, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  21. H.HUGHES

    The response from the american people will probably be the same as it was last time when you cram something down someones throat when they seriously do not want it you get what you ask for you enflame the passion of the american people.

    April 10, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  22. pauldia

    The climate is right now. I recently read an legal brief which states we have an illegal immigrant in the White House!

    April 10, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  23. Brad S. in Knoxville, TN

    No too many purist in this country to recognize the impact these people have made to our great land!

    April 10, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  24. arithmetic is liberal

    If you support the Minuteman Project take a moment to follow the bouncing ball:

    Jim Gilchrist, founder of the Minuteman Project, willingly and knowingly allowed members of the National Alliance to participate with him as members of the Minuteman Project, and even allowed them to distribute literature at meetings in Tombstone and Tucson.

    Dr. Jerome Corsi, who co-authored with Gilchrist as 'Minutemen: Securing Our Nation's Borders' and last year wrote 'Obamanation' is also a member of the National Alliance, and used to appear on the online radio show of Stormfront.org.

    National Alliance and Stormfront are White Power Neo-Nazi organizations.

    Still feel comfortable supporting the MInuteman Project?

    April 10, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  25. ron

    The thoughts of amnesty of illegal immigrants, this adminstration , needs to be realistic. its bad enough for ameicans being unemployed, and jobs going to illegals , who will work for peanuts we have to offer the same benefits to them such as free medical , housing food stamps. just another burden on our economy, sad that american citizens , who need help and can not get it , but we can offer illegals , everything with open arms, how many billions more do we need to shell out, enough is enough.

    April 10, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
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