A national poll suggests that President-elect Barack Obama is more popular than ever despite recent speed bumps on the road to hi s inauguration. Eighty-four percent of those surveyed say they approve of how Obama is handling the presidential transition.
There have been no specific pronouncements of President-Elect Obama’s immigration law and policy position in any major speech. One can try to glean his thought process and his bent of mind from his voting record on immigration matters. A brief summary of the immigration policy and the track record of President-Elect Obama might be encapsulated as follows.
He voted for Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) in July 2007, which attempted to eliminate the labor certification system and provide relief to undocumented workers, who could get in line to become U.S. immigrants, by creating a new Z class of visas. This was not an amnesty or blanket forgiveness. It was a slow process, requiring payment of hefty fines and get behind others waiting for years to obtain permanent U.S. immigration benefits.
He voted for the border fence with Mexico in September 2006, as part of the immigration policy to attempt to stem the tide of new illegal border crossings.
He voted for the DREAM Act in January 2008, which would make the undocumented immigrant children, who complete high school in the U.S., eligible for legalization, considering it unfair to penalize children for the actions of their parents.
He voted for the Guest Worker Program in May 2006 which, as part of the CIR, would make a new visa class of Y visas to recognize the need for immigrants to enter the U.S. on a short-term basis to undertake work that is not being done by U.S. workers, such as farm work, crab picking, etc.
He voted against declaring English as the official language in the United States in June 2007.
Immigration law and policy is a hot-button issue that will not go away, however, so after dealing with these immediate crises, it may return as a key policy issue that our new President will need to address.