Ashville Citizen Times
December 2, 2008 Tuesday
Shuler to tackle immigration again next year
by DOUG ABRAHMS
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., plans to take up more comprehensive immigration reform but still is working with the new Obama administration on timing, said Jon Summers, a Reid spokesman.
The Obama administration is likely to focus on a more comprehensive immigration plan and cut back on workplace raids, which the Bush administration increased over the past few years, said Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum. The group -- which represents attorneys, business groups, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and immigration-rights groups -- opposes Shuler's bill and favors larger reforms that include speeding up the naturalization process and increasing guest worker programs.
Illegal immigrants deported from Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina jumped from 10,996 in 2007 to 17,882 last year, according to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. This doesn't include the 57 employees at Mills Manufacturing in Woodfin who were arrested in August and face deportation for reportedly entering and working in the U.S. illegally.
"The evidence points that worksite raids are not a good resource of time and money," Noorani said. "We've not addressed the root problem here -- which is having one workforce exploited at the expense of another."
Arresting illegal immigrants rips apart families, harms communities' economies and doesn't create new job openings, he said.
Few expect immigration to be a hot topic early next year because all the attention will be focused on the economy. The E-Verify program is set to expire in March unless Congress renews it, which could set off an immigration debate...more