Edward Kennedy, a great leader in immigration reform, passed away on Tuesday. His death is mourned by the immigration and immigrant rights advocates across the nation. Read about it...
Where Immigration Reform Stands Without Kennedy
Posted by Stephanie Condon 8/27/2009
While Democrats in Congress are hoping to push health care reform forward in honor of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, the senator's death serves as a reminder that Congress and President Obama have substantial work to do to accomplish another of Kennedy's lifelong causes: immigration reform.
In a column in Roll Call newspaper, editor Morton Kondracke writes that passing immigration reform would also be a fitting tribute to the stalwart liberal, who died Tuesday night.
Kennedy dramatically changed the United States' immigration system with the Immigration Act of 1965, which eliminated the quota system and allowed immigration from Latin America and Asia to dramatically increase. The bill "will go down as one of our nation's core civil-rights bills of that era," the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute's Vice President Don Kerwin said in a statement.
He also worked to pass the Refugee Act of 1980, and in 1986 he supported a measure that allowed nearly three million undocumented immigrants to gain legal status and established penalties against employers who hired illegal immigrants. He supported the Immigration Act of 1990, which increased the number of immigrants that could enter the country, including those who could enter with permanent job-related visas and temporary worker visas.
"Senator Kennedy was the driving force behind every significant piece of immigration legislation over the past 40-plus years," the American Immigration Law Foundation noted in a statement (PDF).