CIR 2013 Blog

The CIR 2013 blog will examine the likelihood of comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) in 2013. The analyses on this blog will focus on identifying likely support and opposition for an immigration reform bill for all 535 voting-members of Congress. A model is only as good as its assumptions and the quality of the data. Combining the insights gained from these analyses with “on the ground” developments is, perhaps, the optimal way to make sense of the politics of immigration reform in 2013. We thus invite constructive comments and suggestions, particularly from immigration scholars and those working on immigration reform.

The CIR 2013 Blog in the news can be found here: ABC News/UnivisionSouthern California Public Radio, New York Times, Fronteras Desk, and KPBS.

Please direct comments and inquires to Tom K. Wong by email to and on Twitter @twong002. We will use #cir2013blog to announce updates.

DOWNLOAD: Understanding Change in Science & Engineering – July 12 & 13 Workshop

October 30, 2013

Building the Innovation Economy? The Challenges of Defining, Creating and Maintaining the STEM Workforce:
For several years, policymakers in Washington, academic and other experts, and industry leaders have emphasized the importance of the so-called “STEM” fields—science, technology, engineering and math—for economic growth, national competitiveness and security, and job creation. Yet we still know little about how this crucial sector of the economy works, and in particular, why industry demands ever more foreign workers even as many US workers are leaving this vibrant sector, and how US workers keep their skill sets current in the face of continual change. Most broadly, we …

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Can GOP Keep House in 2014 Without Comprehensive Immigration Reform?

July 09, 2013

By Tom K. Wong, Ph.D.,, @twong002
As Republicans prepare to meet to discuss how immigration reform will proceed in the House, Speaker John Boehner has maintained that he will adhere to the Hastert rule when it comes to immigration – in other words, he will not support any piece of legislation that does not have majority support among Republican representatives.
Much of this Republican caucus will involve discussions between House Republican leadership and the Republican rank-and-file over how immigration reform fits into the party’s short-term and long-term political prospects. Here, Republicans are at odds. On the one hand, Republican leadership will …

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Comprehensive Immigration Reform in the House: Will the SAFE Act Pass?

July 08, 2013

By Tom K. Wong, Ph.D.,, @twong002
After the Senate passed S.744 attention shifted immediately to the House. While an upcoming July 10th conference wherein Republican representatives are set to gather to discuss immigration will provide greater clarity in terms of what we can expect in the weeks ahead, Speaker of the House John Boehner has already indicated that he will adhere to the Hastert rule when it comes to immigration reform. What this means is that we are unlikely to see S.744 debated and then voted on in the House. Rather, we are likely to see stand-alone immigration bills introduced, …

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Will Comprehensive Immigration Reform Pass in the Senate? An Update

June 24, 2013

By Tom K. Wong, Ph.D.,, @twong002
This week marks a critical test for comprehensive immigration reform. In advance of a scheduled vote on the bill, I revisit the initial predictions I made for the Senate in March. Scroll down for the results.
The Senate bill has largely remained in tact – mostly due to the absence of floor votes on a number of significant amendments. However, there have been some major developments. First, several efforts to use border triggers to prevent undocumented immigrants from obtaining legal status have been defeated. Second, the Corker-Hoeven amendment to significantly bolster border security via a …

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A Test of the CIR 2013 Blog: The 287(g) Vote

June 07, 2013

By Tom K. Wong,, @twong002
While we are still far from a vote on final passage of the comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) bill in the Senate, a vote yesterday in the House provides an early test of the models and predictions of the CIR 2013 Blog.
Yesterday, the House voted on an amendment to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) appropriation bill that was introduced by Democratic Representative Jared Polis (CO-2). The amendment was related to the controversial 287(g) program, which promotes local law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration officials. Last week, I was asked to help count votes for and …

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Does Legalization Encourage Unauthorized Immigration?

June 04, 2013

By Hillary Kosnac,, and Tom K. Wong,, @twong002
Chances that 2013 will bring a comprehensive immigration reform bill (CIR) that includes a path to citizenship increased recently after the bipartisan Senate “gang of 8’s” bill was voted out of committee (and largely in tact after some 300 amendments were considered). However, the optimism surrounding the bill was quickly tempered as the House Judiciary Committee (HJC) held a hearing in which the legalization of undocumented immigrants and an eventual path to citizenship were sharply questioned.
These questions renewed debate over whether legalization (or even just talk of legalization) leads to more unauthorized …

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Interior Immigration Enforcement by the Numbers

May 22, 2013

By Matt Graham, Bipartisan Policy Center, @matt__graham
Opinions on the extent to which the U.S. enforces immigration laws vary dramatically. Some contend that enforcement is already extremely tough, while others contend that the government fails to enforce immigration law. Rarely are these claims backed by more than one or two statistics.
Based on a long series of Freedom of Information Act requests, the Transactional Record Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) keeps records of immigration enforcement statistics. Their numbers paint a more nuanced picture than either side’s advocates, but leave major holes that available data appear unable to fill.
Removals (Deportations)
The common claim that the Obama …

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Who Are the Opponents of Comprehensive Immigration Reform?

May 15, 2013

By Tom K. Wong,, @twong002
While members of the Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) spent yesterday inside the Dirksen Senate Office Building marking up the bipartisan Senate “gang of 8’s” comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) bill, some Republican members of the House of Representatives gathered outside of the Capital Building to declare their opposition to reform efforts. These Representatives have been described as a “veritable all-star team of anti-‘amnesty’ activists.”
While the House has yet to formally take up debate on immigration reform, the group of 8 Representatives who made their opposition known yesterday – particularly with respect to a pathway to citizenship …

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What the GOP has to Gain – and Lose – ­Among Latinos When it Comes to Immigration Reform

May 13, 2013

By Matt A. Barreto, Latino Decisions
Recently, there have been a series of high profile endorsements for comprehensive immigration reform from the Republican Party. Immediately after the November 2012 election Bobby Jindal made a plea for more civility and less stupidity on the immigration issue. Before too long, it was the Gang of 8 in the U.S. Senate, which included four prominent Republican Senators who introduced their framework for an immigration bill. Then the RNC released a lengthy report calling for stronger outreach to Latinos, starting by passing an immigration reform bill. And now Tea Party favorite, Senator Rand Paul, has changed his position and …

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Will Amendments Using Border Triggers To Create More Obstacles to Legalization Pass?

May 09, 2013

By Tom K. Wong,, @twong002
Conclusion: Should amendments be introduced and voted on by the full Senate e.g., the Cruz and Sessions amendments that make the initial process of becoming legal contingent on border triggers being met (think triggers first, legalization, and then citizenship instead of legalization first, triggers, and then citizenship), they are likely to fail.
Earlier this week members of the Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) filed 300 amendments (nearly two-thirds filed by Republicans) to the comprehensive immigration reform bill (S.744) unveiled last month. Today, the SJC will begin debate over these amendments. While we are still a long ways away from the fireworks that …

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