How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

In immigration news: Dealing with future immigration, the legacy of 1986's IRCA, how visa backlogs affect Asians, more

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Day laborers wait near a Home Depot home improvement store in hope of finding work for the day on Aug. 15, 2008 in Los Angeles. One question that remains as debate over this week's immigration reform proposals gets underway is how well these plans would manage future immigration, namely by people who come seeking manual labor jobs.

Forget citizenship and the border: Future immigration is the hard part - ABC/Univision From the story: "The Senate 'Gang of Eight' hasn't committed to a position on one of the most complicated and impactful aspects of reform: how to handle future waves of immigrant workers, specifically those doing manual labor."

As debate gets underway, it helps to turn the clock back to 1986 - Southern California Public Radio There are now two sets of ideas for comprehensive immigration reform on the table, one from the White House and one from the Senate. But we've been here before. Two comprehensive bills failed in 2006 and 2007; the last major immigration overhaul took place in 1986, with significant compromises. What's different now?

For Asian Americans, immigration backlogs are a major hurdle - NPR As the debate over immigration reform gets underway, "it is Asian-Americans who encounter some of the knottiest challenges facing immigrants and immigration reformers. Of the five countries with the longest backlogs for visas, four are in Asia."


In immigration news: Obama vs. Senate reform plans, what's different this time, an immigration debate glossary, more

Bipartisan Group Of Senators Announce Major Agreement On Immigration Reform

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U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Senate Majority Whip Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL), and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) share a moment during a news conference on their comprehensive immigration reform framework January 28, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

Obama vs. Senate immigration reform plans: Differences in the details - Southern California Public Radio The White House and Senate immigration plans announced this week share common principles, including more border security and a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. But there are key differences. For example, the latter is contingent on the first in the Senate plan, but not in the White House plan.

First thoughts: Two pressure points to watch on immigration - NBC News From the story: "There are two pressure points that either could create enough force to ensure legislation gets through Congress, or that could scuttle any chance for a deal." These could involve a GOP border enforcement "trigger" prior to any legalization plan, and Obama pushing his own legislation if the Senate doesn't act. 


VIDEO: Obama: 'A lot of folks forget that most of 'us' used to be 'them''

Speaking in Las Vegas today, President Barack Obama laid out his ideas for a comprehensive immigration reform strategy that in many ways resembles the one a bipartisan group ofU.S. Senators introduced Monday, with key differences.

Among these: Unlike with the Senate plan, a path to citizenship for the nation's estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants wouldn't depend upon meeting a border security goal, although the president's plan also calls for enhanced border and other enforcement.

Beyond the basics of the plan, not surprisingly, Obama went on in his address to talk about immigrants. He told the story of Alan Aleman, a young man who arrived illegally in the U.S. as a child and has since obtained temporary legal status through deferred action. 

But the president evoked a fair amount of applause during this condensed version of U.S. immigration history, told in the context of how the likely debate over reforms will get ugly, as it tends to. From a transcript of Obama's speech:


Obama vs. Senate immigration reform plans: Differences in the details



US President Barack Obama delivers remarks on immigration reform at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas, Nevada, January 29, 2013.

Now that President Barack Obama has unveiled the basics of his immigration reform plan, how does it compare with the bipartisan "Gang of Eight" Senate proposal introduced on Monday?

On their faces, the two plans contain similar principles for comprehensive reform, grouped into four key areas. Both call for border enforcement. Both call for a path to citizenship for the nation's estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants. Both also call for cracking down on illegal hiring, and for streamlining the processes by which immigrants and workers arrive legally in the United States. 

The differences are in the details. One key difference is that while both plans call for more border security, the Senate plan makes a path to citizenship for the undocumented "contingent upon securing our borders" - a difficult goal to achieve - and also upon cracking down on visas overstays. From the Senate plan:


Skeptical reaction to Obama's second-term immigration reform promise

One impressive thing about President Obama's recent pledge that he'd try to get comprehensive immigration reform passed in his second term if reelected, made during a televised interview with the Spanish-language Univision network, is the seemingly bipartisan nature of the unhappy reactions that skeptics have been posting online.

During a network interview Friday, Obama said: "I can promise that I will try to do it in the first year of my second term. I want to try this year. The challenge we’ve got on immigration reform is very simple. I’ve got a majority of Democrats who are prepared to vote for it, and I’ve got no Republicans who are prepared to vote for it."

A good intention perhaps, but much of the online reaction since has tended to bring up where the road paved with good intentions leads to. During Obama's first term, immigration reform efforts like the Dream Act have failed while enforcement-based policies like the controversial Secure Communities fingerprint-sharing program have stuck, contributing to record deportations.