Issues surrounding immigration policy in our country have been the source of countless debates and political fights over the past several years. Just look at the strong reaction to the bipartisan immigration reform proposed by Congress and supported by President Bush in 2007. Undoubtedly, President-elect Obama will face the immigration issue once again soon after taking his seat in the Oval Office. With Texas being on the front lines of all issues related to immigrants, you can be certain that we will be following Obama’s proposals and their progress closely on this blog.
As a candidate, President-elect Obama shared three primary objectives related to immigration. First, he supports more security at our borders and ports through means of extra personnel, improved infrastructure, and better technology. Second, he wants to streamline the complicated bureaucracy that potential immigrants face to allow more people to come to our country legally. Finally, he wants to allow undocumented immigrants to pay a fine, learn English, and eventually have the opportunity to obtain citizenship. How will these points of focus affect immigration law here in Texas? We may have to be patient in waiting for our answer. As shared by Associate Professor Sean Theriault at the University of Texas at Austin, “The economy is going to be Obama’s first, second, third, fourth and fifth priority.”
In the meantime, Texas lawmakers have already proposed more than a dozen bills concerning immigration for the new session. Some of the bills include a fee for wiring money to Latin America, punishing employers for hiring unauthorized workers, and requiring schools to maintain records of immigration status. Muzaffar Chishti, director of the Migration Policy Institute at NYU School of Law said that, “”As long as immigration reform doesn’t happen, the states will … feel either compelled or obliged to [act].” So, whether it occurs at the national or state level, we will have plenty of legislative action to following in the new year.
You can expect detailed posts on the specific pieces of proposed immigration legislation throughout the next several months. At Bertolino LLP, we have immigration attorneys in Austin and San Antonio. We also have Houston immigration lawyers with experience dealing with this hot-button issue in Texas and our immigration lawyers make it their priority to stay on top of all changes that may affect you. If you have any concerns related to immigration law, please contact our Austin, Houston, or San Antonio office today.

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