On January 2nd, the White House ruled that foreign spouses and children can stay with their U.S. citizen relatives if they are applying for green cards (permanent residency). This is another step in the right direction as the Obama Administration moves toward comprehensive immigration reform. Nancy Pelosi mentioned immigration reform in her remarks at the opening of 113th Congress, but there was no mention from John Boehner. President Obama has promised to introduce an immigration reform bill shortly after his inauguration that will give legal status to approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants. I think he will do just that. Besides, something must be done on immigration reform in his second term, and after garnering 71% of the Hispanic vote in the 2012 Election, I think that President Obama has a mandate.
The Republicans will charge that President Obama needs to secure our borders, but Mr. Obama has been doing that and more. In fact, according to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) under the Obama Administration in FY11 alone almost 400,000 immigrants were deported, and in FY12 over 400,000 immigrants were deported. Recent deportations, within the last fiscal year, and as a matter of priority, fell into the category of immigrants who were convicted of felonies or misdemeanors as the Obama Administration fine-tuned its deportation policy.
One might ask, what happened to the significance of the sonnet, “New Colossus” inscribed at the base of the Statue of Liberty, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free“. Or does this phrase only have application if the immigrant population is European? Conservative Republicans do not want immigration reform, and if the GOP remains on its same course, immigrants who may someday become U.S. citizens represent yet another constituency with whom they will have no influence, especially Hispanic immigrants. With the political composition of 113th Congress, immigration reform promises to be another gritty battle for the Obama Administration. Nonetheless, now is the time for comprehensive immigration reform.
Read the ABC Univision piece: Analysis: 6 Things Obama Needs To Do for Immigration Reform