Today, President Obama called for common sense, comprehensive immigration reform, saying unequivocally that now is the time for action. He noted that most Americans agree that it is time to “fix the system that has been broken for way too long” and that immigration reform will strengthen our economy and our nation’s future.
Speaking at a majority Hispanic high school in Las Vegas, Obama said “a broad consensus is emerging” behind the issue across the country, with signs of progress in Congress.
However, he acknowledged a fierce debate ahead on an issue he described as emotional and challenging, but vital to economic growth and ensuring equal opportunity for all.
The main points include:
Eliminating the extremely long wait times for families to be reunited with loved ones with temporary and permanent reforms to the family-based immigration system.
Treating same-sex families just like other families.
Eliminating long wait times for employers and prospective employees by reducing backlogs and adding visas.
Granting green cards to graduates in science, technology, engineering and math fields, creating a “startup visa” for job-creating entrepreneurs, and expanding opportunities for investors contributing to U.S. economic development.
Expediting an opportunity for DREAMers to earn their citizenship.
Investing in our immigration courts and providing greater protections for those least able to represent themselves.
Providing broader discretion to judges to help keep families together when they face hardship.
Imposing tough criminal penalties on notarios who prey on vulnerable immigrants.
The President called on Congress to move forward on immigration reform legislation and said that if Congress doesn’t act, he’ll move forward on his own bill for them to act on right away.
The principles described by President Obama Today were similar to the framework proposed Monday by the eight senators.