Immigration Reform 2013: As the House Reaches a Deal, Is That Even a Good Thing?

ByAna Maria Defillo

After pessimistic statements circulated earlier on Thursday, the House’s bipartisan immigration reform group reached an "agreement on principle" later in the day and will now focus its attention on drafting a bill. No details on the agreement were disclosed. Rep. John Carter (R-Texas) told reporters “that the group was on track to release a bill by the first week of June.”

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) expressed positive thoughts on the outcome. "I've always wanted to fix what's broken, and clearly what's broken is the entire immigration system," he said. "And I think this bill would do that. ... I feel really, really, really, really comfortable with the fact that this is a very complete bill that fulfills what I've always wanted, which is to fix what's broken."

According to the Miami Herald, the agreement was reached “after California Rep. Xavier Becerra dropped what sources said was a blanket objection to denying immigrants health care benefits after they become legalized as part of a pathway to citizenship.” Several reports are implying the deal was possible because more conservative parts of the plan were accepted.

Red Flag. 

Since the beginning of the reform, I’ve been skeptical. In theory, the path to citizenship is an incredible step in the right direction. Finally both sides of the aisle are seeking change, despite whatever their motives might be. However, in reality, where people live, I am not sure how the proposed plan will actually help undocumented immigrants. The amount of money and bureaucratic mess they have to maneuver through seems to defeat the purpose of immigration reform. And before an undocumented immigrant could even begin the process to citizenship, stricter, unnecessary and insanely expensive border security measures are required to be processed.

Daniel González from reported, “Undocumented immigrants wouldn’t be able to apply for provisional status until the secretary of Homeland Security submits to Congress two “strategies” for beefing up border security and constructing more fencing to achieve the goals of having 100 percent of the southern border under surveillance and stopping 90% of people who enter illegally in high-traffic areas, including the Tucson sector.

OK, then what’s the point? It seems as if the only undocumented immigrants that will actually benefit from this bill are "Dreamers." Which is great, don't get me wrong but what about the other millions? The only reform I see for them resides in some abstract bubble. This bill will only cause a shift in the rhetoric. Instead of outright denying undocumented immigrants any rights or humanity, now conservative politicians can say, “Sure, we'll give the 11 million undocumented immigrants in our country a chance to become citizens ... but first they need to do XYZ after we do ABC and then wait ten years to see if they can qualify to apply for DEF if NOP did not occur.”

Sure, it's great both parties are finally pushing a bill forward, but at what cost?