OPINION| Barry Richard: People Demand Immigration Reform
With Congress and the Trump Administration still jockeying for positions in the immigration debate, one local expert believes that an agreement may be elusive at least until after the Fall midterm elections.
Helena DaSilva Hughes, Director of the New Bedford Immigration Center, tells me the issue is too politically charged and that neither political party has been serious about finding a solution. She doubts a resolution to the DACA issue can be found before the March 5 deadline that was set by the president.
Hughes supports a "pathway to legalization" for children who were brought here illegally by their parents and agrees that border security has to be a part of any immigration agreement. While Hughes says existing technology is enough to secure the border she would support funding a border wall if it would lead to an agreement on DACA.
Hughes, an immigrant herself, is a reasonable person who favors legal immigration and enforcement of immigration laws. She is correct to point out that the immigration debate is far more complex than what is portrayed often by the media and that tighter border security would not catch the roughly 40-percent of illegals who simply overstay their VISAs after entering the country legally.
A new Harvard-Harris poll indicates that most Americans, of all political stripes, want a DACA deal that secures the southern border and addresses chain migration as well as the visa lottery. A full 81-percent support reducing immigration levels.
Hughes is not optimistic about a deal that addresses immigration reform any time soon. Let's hope she is wrong because clearly it's time and most Americans expect it to get done.
Editor's Note: Barry Richard is the afternoon host on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon-3 p.m. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.