Echoes of Ellis Island


Background (to date):
    In June 2013, with support of then U.S. President Barack Obama,
the U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan immigration "overhaul bill" which was more comprehensive than unsuccessful proposals of President George W. Bush (who had sought "legal status over time" for undocumented immigrants, without another "blanket amnesty" as in 1986). The Republican controlled House of Representatives, however, did not act on the 2013 Senate bill.

   In November 2014, Obama announced "deferred actions"  enabling about half of undocumented immigrants to legally live and work in America. These measures, somewhat exceeding those exercised by prior presidents, and expanding on his 2012 DACA ("Dreamers") program, were blocked by court challenges. Addressing such objections to his actions in advance, Obama told Congress to "pass a bill" instead. There were, however, no further attempts at bipartisan immigration policy overhaul during the remainder of his presidential term.

  In 2016, Donald Trump declared his desire to "have Mexico pay" for building a "wall" on the U.S.-Mexico border. After being elected president that November, he suggested that in places it could be a fence rather than a wall. In September 2017, acting ahead of lawsuits by state attorneys-general, the Trump administration announced that DACA would end after six more months unless Congress formally extended it. In January 2018, Congressional indecision on such legislation delayed passage of the annual federal budget shutting down government operations for a few days. A proposed "path to citizenship" for DACA recipients was part of a  "Framework on Immigration Reform and Border Security"  announced by the White House in January 2018. A moderate variant of this proposal was narrowly blocked in the House of Representatives in June 2018.

  After Democrats won a House of Representatives majority in the 2018 mid-term elections, another government shutdown (the longest in US history) began in December 2018. In January 2019, Trump proposed legislation (favorably received by Senate Republicans) including a three year extension of DACA and $5.7 mil. in border "wall" funding.

In June 2019, the House instead passed the "Dream and Promise" act which would "give 2.5 million unauthorized immigrants a path to citizenship," however the Senate appears unlikely to vote on it.


   For more, see "Decades of Dodging Hard Decisions" (Economist, July, 2018)


  General articles here below

  Specific analyses, listed to the left* here, and in

  Commentary section at bottom of this page

   *Smartphone users see here, under "Migration today / US Immigration...", for links



"Dream and Promise Act" (HR6) passes House  (Vox, June 2019)

"...the much harder work of comprehensive immigration reform is yet to come"


"Immigration Debate Shines Spotlight on Divided House GOP"

(NPR, June, 2018)


"Dreamers," Mistrust in Congress

(New York Times, January, 2018)


Democrat deal with Trump on "Dreamers" ?

(NPR, Sept, 2017)


"A giant exercise in ignoring reality"

(Congress failing to acknowledge a choice limited to

(a) failed executive actions, (b) failed immigration policy, or

(c) enacting "something like DACA,"  Economist, Sept, 2017)


Proposal to make E-verify mandatory for new hires

("Legal Workforce Act" introduced, House of Reps, Sept, 2017)


Minding the door (proposed RAISE Act of 2017)

(Economist  February, 2017)


Latinos, immigration and the White House, 2016

(New York Times interview of Jorge Ramos, March, 2016)


GOP's immigration "crossroads"

(Brooks, New York Times, November, 2015)


Court battle over executive actions

(Vox, February, 2015)


Delaying executive action until after mid-term elections

(Wall Street Journal, August, 2014)


Executive action instead of legislation

(New York Times, June, 2014)


No U.S. immigration policy overhaul in 2014

(New York Times, February, 2014)


The Case for Republican Inaction

(National Review, January, 2014)


Republican List of Principles

(New York Times, January, 2014)


Receding Roar?

(Brooks, New York Times, July, 2013)


Republicans shun 2013 bill

(Horsey, Los Angeles Times, July, 2013)


2013 "Immigration overhaul" bill in the U.S. Congress


2013 "Immigration overhaul" bill: historical perspective

(Keeling, Los Angeles Times, July, 2013)


President Obama's speech on 2013 immigration bill

(White House website, June, 2013)


"The Gang of Eight's Immigration Fight"

(New Yorker, May, 2013)


Background on the 2013 "Immigration Overhaul" bill




NY Times: Bankrolling anti-immigration agendas (Aug-19)

Atlantic: How to fix a broken system (Nov-18)

Economist: Migrants maybe (May-14)

Economist: Legalization without citizenship IV (Nov-13)

Cruz (R-TX): Legalization without citizenship III (Sep-13)

Pearce (R-NM): Legalization without citizenship II (Aug-13)

NY Times: The role of business (Jul-13)

White House / CBO: Econ. benefits of reform (Jul-13)

Klein: Legalization without citizenship I

("A cynical solution to the immigration impass," Washington Post, 10-Jul-13)

Economist: "Of Fences and Good Sense" (Jul-13)


This page last updated 15-August-2019