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Immigration reform act gets council’s praise

As politicians get ready for the upcoming November elections, one New Jersey senator introduced a new immigration bill last Wednesday in an attempt to work out recent controversy over illegal immigrants in the United States.

Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., released the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act days after the controversial Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act was defeated in the Senate.

Menendez, with the help of Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., formed the bill in order to strengthen border control, bring employment verification for worksite enforcement, while also including the elements of the DREAM Act.

Menendez said for this immigration reform to pull through, members of both parties must come together and work out their differences.

“If we can put political grandstanding aside and work together on a comprehensive, middle-of-the-road bill like this one, we can bring all sides to the table,” he said in an article on “We can finally take action on a problem that has generated a lot of talk over the past decade but few results.”

In a statement from the White House, President Barack Obama agreed with Menendez, saying there is no way immigration reform could work if both parties continue to disagree.

“We cannot continue to allow partisan politics and divisive rhetoric to dominate and delay action on this critical issue,” he said. “The American people expect their elected officials from both parties to work together to tackle the greatest challenges confronting our nation, and that’s what fixing the broken immigration system is all about.”

Obama said he was pleased to see Menendez introduce his bill into the Senate, noting the broken immigration system is in need of mass reform, and the bill is a step in the right direction.

“Comprehensive immigration reform would provide lasting and dedicated resources for our border security, while restoring accountability and responsibility to the broken system,” he said. “I look forward to reviewing it in detail, and I’m pleased that the bill includes important building blocks laid out in the bipartisan framework presented earlier this year addressing the urgent need for reform.”

Jorge Casalins, political chair of the University’s Latino Student Council, said he is happy to see Menendez introduce the bill, adding the senator’s goals match those of the council.

“Everything [Menendez] is trying to go for is what we want, because we understand our immigration policy in the United States is completely flawed,” said Casalins, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore. “So I’m glad that he is pushing forward with it.”

The Latino Student Council has a close relationship with Menendez, saying the council received the senator’s support for their endeavor to bring in-state tuition for children of illegal immigrants in New Jersey, Casalins said, adding this is something the Latino Student Council is still trying to accomplish.

“We are still pushing for in-state tuition here at Rutgers, which is still at our local level,” he said. “But we are also supporting all federal goals that Sen. Menendez is pushing for.”

Although the DREAM Act was defeated in the Senate, Casalins said this is normal because politicians may be weary of supporting such a bill before the November midterm elections.

“A lot of senators are a little hesitant to make such radical moves. By defeating the DREAM Act, they maintain the status quo,” he said. “For the most part, all senators want to keep the status quo before elections.”

Casalins said even though this is common practice for politicians, it is not helpful for millions of illegal immigrants waiting in limbo.

“It is all politics and, unfortunately, they are playing with a lot peoples’ lives and futures, but Sen. Menendez has the right idea,” he said. “You can’t wait and you can’t put things off for political backlash the politician might get.”

Casalins is confident that after the November elections, immigration reform will move forward in the nation.

“Somebody inside said they pretty much have the support for the bill,” he said. “It’s just they can’t do it at this moment because of the political atmosphere with the elections coming up.”


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