After a laborious first term plagued with an economic downfall, mortgage crisis, and health care crusade—during which immigration was left neglected in the back burner—newly re-elected President Obama is regrouping and redoubling his efforts to tend to this problem, making immigration reform an ambitious centerpiece of his agenda.
He held meetings at the White House with labor leaders and progressive leaders along with CEOs from a wide range of industries to discuss and reaffirm his commitment to having a bipartisan bill pass during this year. Of course, the business and industry sector applauds immigration reform given that it is in line with their aims for economic growth and competitiveness. At an event in Las Vegas, President Obama spoke about his re-energized goal of giving the undocumented a path to legal citizenship. “I’m here because business leaders, faith leaders, labor leaders, law enforcement and leaders from both parties are coming together to say now is the time to find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as the land of opportunity.”
Yet despite the President’s and other lawmaker’s devout will to push this matter forward, there are many within the Republican party that are still battling to come to terms with the new immigration reform landscape. Be that as it may, although the GOP party has had a longstanding retaliation against immigration, there are a growing number of party members that are leaving their harsh party line and are aligning themselves with a more amicable position on this front. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) said, “I think we can all agree that our nation’s immigration system is in desperate need of repair,” which is an axiomatic fact even though there is significant disagreement as to how exactly the problem should be fixed.
The fact of the matter is, however, that Republicans are willingly pursuing a more conciliatory tone, leaving behind their dogmatic and draconian stance of treating immigrants are simple “aliens” and “anchor-babies” to treat them as Americans with complications that the public needs to help alleviate. President Obama has underscored four principles of immigration reform, citing the fact that improvements to the nation’s immigration system are overdue because the current system no longer “reflects the realities of our time.” He wants to help foreign students by giving foreigners more access to our University programs and to finding work in our country once they graduate since this will surely create and help sustain American jobs. Similarly, he also wants to establish more start-up and investor visas to help entrepreneurs increase their business and help promote new business.
He also wants to streamline the process for family-sponsored visas so as to help keep families together, and that his definition of family includes same-sex couples. He also made it clear that a key component of his plan is to create a concrete path to citizenship for all of those who are undocumented. One great result to come from all of this is the fact that the President and a growing number of Congress members—both Democrats and Republicans—are finally on the same page on this matter. It is our hope that leaders will act quickly to put forth a measure that will bring about real progressive change in this arena.