“Once we get the border secured, and we can get the border secured, I would look forward to working on comprehensive immigration reform,” said Sen. John McCain during a recent interview on NBC’s "Today Show" (comprehensive immigration reform could provide a pathway for illegal aliens to obtain legalization and eventual citizenship).

Over the past decade, it has been a rollercoaster ride of frustration for people hoping for some kind of immigration reform, amnesty, or pathway to become legal.

Back in early 2001, George Bush wanted to address comprehensive immigration reform.

But then came 9/11, and then for his entire presidency, nothing happened regarding comprehensive immigration reform.

Then Barack Obama was elected president, promising to make comprehensive immigration reform one of his Administration’s top priorities.

But half way into his presidency, immigration reform remained on the back burner.

It was only in the final weeks of the last Congress that the DREAM Act was voted on (and defeated), which would have at least provided a pathway for young people to legalize their status.

What was more frustrating is while efforts for comprehensive immigration reform fizzled out, enforcement efforts went way up.

In fact, it was reported that under Obama’s presidency, deportation/removals are at record levels, with about 400,000 people deported/removed per year.

However, I do think that Sen. McCain’s statements provide a ray of hope for comprehensive immigration reform.

He had, in the past, sponsored other proposed laws (such as Kennedy-McCain Immigration Bill in 2005).

In addition, he is part of the Republican Party, which now holds the majority in the House (the Republicans have ordinarily taken a hard line on comprehensive immigration reform).

Let us hope he can persuade other Republicans to join with Democrats in comprehensive immigration reform.

But I again want to emphasize that there is no comprehensive immigration reform at the present time.

So don’t start asking, “am I qualified for a green card under McCain’s proposal?”

McCain is speaking only about a proposal for now.

And he first wants the U.S./Mexican border secured, before he would make such a proposal.

I will continue to keep you advised of any more developments, because I know all of us are eagerly awaiting comprehensive immigration reform.


Michael J. Gurfinkel is licensed, and an active member of the State Bar of California and New York.

All immigration services are provided by, or under the supervision of, an active member of the State Bar of California.

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