What to expect from the president on immigration
January 29th, 2013
01:44 PM ET
2 years ago

What to expect from the president on immigration

Washington (CNN) - In less than two hours the president will unveil his latest push for immigration reform at an event in Las Vegas. He will call on Congress to move reform quickly, but also reveal new details of his proposal.

In excerpts released by the White House prior to the speech President Obama is expected to say: "The good news is that – for the first time in many years – Republicans and Democrats seem ready to tackle this problem together. Members of both parties, in both chambers, are actively working on a solution. And yesterday, a bi-partisan group of Senators announced their principles for comprehensive immigration reform, which are very much in line with the principles I've proposed and campaigned on for the last few years. At this moment, it looks like there's a genuine desire to get this done soon. And that's very encouraging."

According to those briefed on the policy, Obama's call for reform will fit into three categories: better enforcement of immigration laws; providing a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants already in the country; and reforming the legal immigration system.

Members of the Obama administration believe the U.S. border, with a record high 18,000 patrol agents along the Southwest border alone, is currently more secure than it ever has been. So their plan will focus on enforcement inside the U.S. The primary focus will be on beefing up enforcement at the workplace by strengthening the E-verify system, making it easier for business owners to determine the legal status of potential employees. Look for the president's plan to include new penalties for businesses that break the law by knowingly hiring undocumented immigrants.

A second category will be providing a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S. This path will require them to learn English, pay fines and back taxes and get in the "back of the line." Once they reach the front of the line, if they qualify, after five years, they would be eligible for citizenship.

The third category addresses unclogging the legal immigration system which is currently backlogged. Immigrants who come here under legal work visas often find that bringing family, or extending their time in the US, is a Kafka-esque nightmare, officials say. This reform is designed to encourage highly skilled and educated workers to stay in the US. At the present time, many immigrants leave after they give up fighting the immigration system.

Unlike the Senate blueprint released yesterday, a senior administration official confirms that the president's plan would require same-sex couples be treated the same as heterosexual couples throughout the immigration process. The Senate plan also includes proof of work requirements that may or may not be included in the President's plan.


Filed under: Immigration • Nevada • President Obama
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. GOP Fails Arithmetic & Integrity Tests All The Time

    The President has already put more border police and UAVs in place. The teeth is already in enforcement. President Obama has deported more undocumented people than any other President.

    I warn Asians & Latinos to look out for the bait-n-switch double-speak behavior that the Republican party has demonstrated on everything from women`s reproductive rights to the electoral college, to trying to dilute the principle of all men are created equal via voter suppression.

    There is little need to delay these processes to correct the problems with immigration or to link them to some tough guy bluster by the GOP – toughness the President beat them to 3-to-4 years ago.

    January 29, 2013 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  2. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    The percentage of Asian immigrants is higher than Hispanics and both voted for Obama but I find it interesting that Republicans have always focused on the Hispanic population as being the only illegal immigrants. Could the GOP's so called willingness to now address immigration reform be to protect the Asian community rather than to threaten to send them back to their country as they've always done to the Hispanic community. Republicans can't be trusted and those who don't support Republicans, stay the course.

    January 29, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  3. Padraig

    There is no teeth, get down there and see it. I have family down there and it isn't any better. My question is why in the world didn't the President address this immediately in the beginning of his first term? He had control of both houses and he could have also had a bi-partisan agreement. Instead he divided everyone with his health care reform.

    January 29, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Padraig wrote:

    There is no teeth, get down there and see it. I have family down there and it isn't any better. My question is why in the world didn't the President address this immediately in the beginning of his first term? He had control of both houses and he could have also had a bi-partisan agreement. Instead he divided everyone with his health care reform.
    -----------------
    Because a certain Senator from Arizona named McCain filibustered the immigration reform bill in the Senate, claiming that it didn't go far enough to secure the borders. Don't you remember the whole "build a fence" debate? McCain had made a controversial photo op on the border. In fact, many Repubilcans are still grumbling about securing the borders first, before any immigration reform is passed.

    January 29, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  5. kayla

    i just love how you repugs keep saying why didn't he do it when he had control of the house and senate. well, the fact is he is doing it now, we are moving FORWARD. not the PAST like the repugs want to go back to. so, ADELANTE WITH IMMIGRATION REFORM. SI SE PUEDE. LATINOS FOR DEMOCRATS ALL THE WAY

    January 29, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    GOPers/teatrolls just love to block anything Obama and the Dems try to do and then turn around and claim 'omg, they don't are about you and your issue...seeeeeee, they didn't do anything about it!" This is no different. They did it with immigration reform, they did it with the budget bills, etc. They'll continue doing it here. Already, the WSJ and Faux Noise have mobilized the propaganda machines to try to give Rubio credit for Obama's ideas/demands that he essentially took from Obama, slapped his name on and then reintroduced after a few minor changes just so the GOP/Teatrolls could try to claim the credit on this issue. They're very very busy right now working on how to spin the FALSE claim that "Obama didn't do anything, hasn't said anything, never tried to do anything about immigration, so it's really the GOP that saved the day." Poppycock.

    January 29, 2013 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  7. GI Joe

    McCain and Rubio want the votes. Nothing more.

    January 29, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    GOP/Teatrolls immigration reform plan:

    Step 1: Block Obama and the Dems from passing any immigration reform whle demagoguing the border, despite the increased manpower and technology Obama has placed there, his record setting deportations and the NET ZERO illegal immigration he's achieved.

    Step 2: Have Rubio reintroduce the same ideas and demands Obama and the Dems have been making, with some slight changes, as though he thought them up all by himself.

    Step 3: Have the WSJ and Faux News start selling a narrative that Rubio is the immigration wunderkind who is going to save the day.

    Step 4: Point fingers at Obama and the Dems and accuse them of never saying, doing or even atetmpting to accomplish anything on immigration reform...all while completely ignoring the filibuster the GOP/Teatrolls used to block it.

    Step 5: Claim that the GOP/Teatrolls are the ones who actually "saved the day...so all you latinos should love us now," mobilize the propaganda machine to sell that narrative and rely on general MSM laziness and false equivalencies to sweep the facts under the rug.

    Step 6: Act shocked and throw a tantrum when Obama and the Dems still get the majority of the credit, then demagogue and try to roll it all back when it becomes clear that the self-serving propaganda PR-stunt nonsense didn't really work to fix the GOP/Teatrolls' demographics problem.

    January 29, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |