As U.S. residents pick up papers and check the news on immigration reform, many are left wondering why this is so hard. Congress is hung up trying to reach an agreement and yet polls show that most Americans want to see changes.
Of the American’s Gallup polled, 72 percent believe the country should allow undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. the chance to become legal residents or citizens if they meet requirements. A steep majority of 90 percent of democrats agree. Even a majority of republicans support the change at 59 percent, leaving many wondering why the change has not yet been implemented.
Both parties seem to agree that the U.S. should expand the number of visas for legal immigrants who have advanced skills in math and science. Republicans sit at 67 percent while 79 percent of democrats are in favor. Out of the American citizens polled, 71 percent agree.
It seems that the majority of the country would like to see immigration reform, parties just cannot agree on what that would look like. Other issues polled included increased border security, a system to track foreigners through airports and seaports and a requirement that all employers verify whether their foreign employees have legal residency. Republicans show greater support for these three changes. A much smaller majority of democrats agree.
Individual legislators continue to throw in their two cents. Among the most vocal is Bob Goodlatte, Republican Virginia House Representative. He is an original cosponsor of the SAFE (Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement) Act, which would essentially give every law enforcement officer in the nation the authority of an immigration enforcement agent.
“The federal government has been grossly inadequate in the internal enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws,” Goodlatte writes on his website.
Opponents of the act argue that it would promote racial profiling, as those caught on the street without immigration papers would be given jail time.