President Obama’s Immigration Reform Plan

Guest Blog By Lianne Holt-Jensen
J.D.Candidate 2014
Seattle University School of Law
The bipartisan Senate plan for immigration reform was announced on Monday, January 28th, 2013. In response to this plan, President Obama has “praised the progress in the Senate, saying proposals so far was “very much in line” with his own principles, and he sought to emphasize common ground on an issue that has confounded Congress repeatedly for more than a decade.” A House group is also working on legislation that follows closely with the Senate proposal.

On Tuesday, January 29th, 2013, President Obama announced his own plan for immigration reform that will be targeted to replace a system that is “out of date and badly broken”, which will be “vital to economic growth and ensuring equal opportunity for all.”

President Obama’s plan for immigration reform rests on three pillars: 1) better enforcement of immigration laws; 2) providing a path to citizenship for the undocumented immigrants already in the country, and 3) reforming the legal immigration system. However, to earn the opportunity for citizenship, President Obama has said that “undocumented immigrants must first pass a background check, learn English, pay a penalty, and then get “in the back of the line” behind people trying to come to America legally.” Only after these steps have occurred can undocumented immigrants, already in this country, begin the process of obtaining a permanent resident card as a step towards United States citizenship. Alternatively, undocumented children who were brought to the United States illegally would be eligible for an expedited process if they go to college or serve in the military for at least two years.

Also under President Obama’s plan, same-sex married couples would have the same rights as heterosexual couples to sponsor partners for legal immigration status, a right not included in the Senate plan. However, President Obama’s plan “does not have a temporary worker program, a provision often favored by businesses seeking to fill low-wage positions” and calls for new measures to deter employers from hiring undocumented workers, including federal databases that verify eligibility and would control Social Security cards and work permits.

Though President Obama has some very clear ideas on how to reform the current immigration system, the President will wait and see how the process developed by Congress will work before moving forward with his own plan.




Disclaimer: Guests posts do not necessarily express the viewpoint of the Law Office of Andre Olivie. Guests posts and blog posts are meant for general informational purposes only and not meant to be taken as legal advice. Speak with an immigration attorney about legal advice specific to your situation.