President Obama understands the importance and urgency in fixing the broken immigration system and outlined his vision for a 21st century immigration policy:
- Responsibility by the federal government to secure our borders:Today, our borders are more secure than at any time in the past several decades, and the Administration continues to refine and strengthen its strategy. Enforcement resources should be focused on preventing those who would do our nation harm from entering our country.
- Accountability for businesses that break the law by undermining American workers and exploiting undocumented workers: Employers who deliberately hire and exploit undocumented workers must be held accountable. At the same time, we must give employers who want to play by the rules a reliable way to verify that their employees are here legally.
- Strengthening our economic competiveness by creating a legal immigration system that reflects our values and diverse needs: Our immigration laws should continue to reunify families and encourage individuals we train in our world-class institutions to stay and develop new technologies and industries in the United States rather than abroad. The law should stop punishing innocent young people whose parents brought them here illegally and give those young men and women a chance to stay in this country if they serve in the military or pursue higher education. A smart 21st century system should also provide farmers a legal way to hire the workers they rely on year after year, and it should improve procedures for employers who seek to hire foreign workers for jobs if U.S. workers are not available.
- Responsibility from people who are living in the United States illegally: Those people living here illegally must also be held accountable for their actions and get on the right side of the law by registering and undergoing national security and criminal background checks, paying taxes and a penalty, and learning English before they can get in line to become eligible for citizenship. Being a citizen of this country comes not only with rights but also with fundamental responsibilities. We can create a pathway for legal status that is fair and reflects our values.
For the immediate time President Obama has issued these important policies for immigration:
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
President Obama’s new DREAM relief policy [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, or DACA] would allow undocumented youth who qualify to request temporary relief from deportation, making them eligible to receive work permits and a social security number. For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/06/15/remarks-president-immigration
Family Unity Immigration Policy Change
President Obama’s final rule in the Federal Register that reduces the time U.S. citizens are separated from their immediate relatives (spouse, children and parents), who are in the process of obtaining visas to become lawful permanent residents of the United States under certain circumstances. The process will be effective on March 4, 2013 and more information about the filing process will be made available in the coming weeks at http://www.uscis.gov/.
DHS Announces Proposals to Attract and Retain Highly Skilled Immigrants
As part of the Administration’s continuing commitment to attract and retain highly skilled immigrants, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today announced the publication of two proposed rules, including a rule to extend employment authorization to spouses of certain H-1B workers, and a proposal to enhance opportunities for certain groups of highly-skilled workers by removing obstacles to their remaining in the United States.
Issue Guidance for School Districts to Ensure Equal Access for All Children to Public Schools, Regardless of Immigration Status
Secretary Arne Duncan and Attorney General Eric Holder today announced updated guidance to assist public elementary and secondary schools to ensure enrollment processes are consistent with the law and fulfill their obligation to provide all children—no matter their background—equal access to an education.
January 25, 2013
Readout of the President’s Meeting with Congressional Hispanic Caucus Leadership
The President and Senior Administration Officials met this morning with leaders of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to discuss the need to make things fairer for and grow the middle class by fixing our broken immigration system so everyone plays by the same rules. The President thanked the Members for their long standing leadership on the issue, and reiterated that this is a top legislative priority.
The President was pleased to hear from CHC members and noted that they share the same vision, including that any legislation must include a path to earned citizenship. The President further noted that there is no excuse for stalling or delay. The President made it clear he will continue to lead on this issue, and that he looks forward to working with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and other key Members of Congress in a bipartisan process to move this debate forward at the earliest possible opportunity.
Readout of [Homeland Security] Secretary Johnson’s Meeting with Organizations Committed to Passing Bipartisan Immigration Reform
March 25, 2014 dhs.gov
WASHINGTON—Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson met with important stakeholders from across the country to discuss the need for commonsense immigration reform, and hear firsthand their comments and perspective on a wide range of immigration issues. The meeting was part of Secretary Johnson’s focus on the effective and sensible enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws, including the ongoing review to assess how the Department of Homeland Security can conduct enforcement more humanely within the confines of the law.
As part of that effort, Secretary Johnson has been taking a hard look at these tough issues, meeting with a range of stakeholders and employees, and assessing where we can further align our enforcement policies with our goal of sound law enforcement practice that prioritizes public safety.
During the meeting, Secretary Johnson underscored his focus on supporting the passage of commonsense immigration reform this year – which remains the only path to fixing our broken immigration system.
Participants in today’s meeting included:
Josh Bernstein, Director of Immigration Policy and Strategy, Service Employees International Union
Greg Chen, Director of Advocacy, American Immigration Lawyers Association
Ron Coleman, Government Affairs Manager, California Immigrant Policy Center
Joanne Lin, Legislative Counsel, American Civil Liberties Union
Brian Erickson, Policy Advocate, ACLU of New Mexico Regional Center for Border Rights
Jose Manuel Escobedo, Deputy Director for Policy, Border Network for Human Rights
Kamal Essaheb, Immigration Policy Attorney, National Immigration Law Center
Marshall Fitz, Director of Immigration Policy, Center for American Progress
Matthew Ginsburg, Associate General Counsel, AFL-CIO
Melissa Crow, Director of the Legal Action Center, American Immigration Council
Giev Kashkooli, Political/Legislative Director, United Farm Workers
Richard Morales, Detention Prevention Coordinator, PICO National Network
Royce Bernstein Murray, Director of Policy, National Immigrant Justice Center
Jumana Musa, Consultant, CAMBIO
Brittney Nystrom, Director for Advocacy, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
JJ Rosenbaum, Legal and Policy Director, New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice and National Guestworker Alliance
Linda Sarsour, National Network for Arab American Communities
Paromita Shah, Associate Director, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild
Silky Shah, Interim Executive Director/Communications Director, Detention Watch Network
Tania Unzueta Carrasco, Immigration Strategist, National Day Laborer Organizing Network
March 26, 2014
Statement by the President on Immigration Reform
Last year, Democrats and Republicans in the Senate came together to pass a commonsense bill to fix our broken immigration system – a bill that would grow our economy, shrink our deficits, and reward businesses and workers that play by the rules. But so far, Republicans in the House have refused to allow meaningful immigration reform legislation to even come up for a vote.
That’s why, today, I applaud the efforts of Democrats in the House to give immigration reform the yes-or-no vote it deserves. Like the Senate bill, the House bill would strengthen our borders, modernize our legal immigration system, and keep more families together. It would make sure everyone plays by the same rules by providing a pathway to earned citizenship for those who are living in the shadows. And according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, it would grow our economy and reduce our deficits by $900 billion over the next 20 years.
Immigration reform is the right thing to do for our economy, our security, and our future. A vast majority of the American people agree. The only thing standing in the way is the unwillingness of Republicans in Congress to catch up with the rest of the country. And I want to thank the leaders in Congress who are doing their part to move us forward.
- 5/16/14 Republican leaders to block US immigration measure
- 7/31/14 House Republicans abandoned a bill to address theimmigration crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border
- 8/1/14 House Republicans passed a bill to deport Dream Act students under President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program
UPDATE: Republican leaders to block US immigration measure
5/16/14 Associated Press By ERICA WERNER and DONNA CASSATA
WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republican leaders intervened Friday to prevent a vote on U.S. immigration legislation, dealing a severe blow to election-year efforts to overhaul the widely denigrated system.
The move came after a Republican congressman announced plans to try to force a vote next week, over strong conservative opposition, on his measure creating a path to citizenship for immigrants who live here illegally yet serve in the military.
In response, Doug Heye, spokesman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, said: “No proposed ENLIST amendments to NDAA will be made in order.”
Heye said no stand-alone vote on the measure would be permitted, either.
It was the latest setback for President Barack Obama’s efforts to move comprehensive immigration legislation through Congress to boost border security, remake legal worker programs and offer legal status to the estimated 11.5 million people now living here illegally. The Senate passed an immigration bill last year, but it’s been stalled in the Republican-led House.
Friday’s developments seemed to all but rule out anything happening on the issue this year in the House, if even Denham’s limited measure could not advance. Despite a wide coalition of business, labor, religious groups, farmers and others pushing for an immigration overhaul, many individual Republican House members who represent largely white districts have been unmoved.
Cantor, House Speaker John Boehner and other House Republican leaders have insisted they want to advance immigration legislation, though they’ve rejected the Senate’s comprehensive bill. Chances have always looked slim, but the White House and outside advocates saw a window for action over the next several months, before Congress’ August recess and November midterm elections.
Denham’s measure was widely popular and seen as perhaps the likeliest area for compromise.
But in recent weeks prominent conservative groups, including the Heritage Foundation, announced their opposition. Heritage Action, the group’s political arm, announced it would include the vote in its ratings on lawmakers and called Denham’s legislation “deplorable.”
Cantor himself faces a primary election challenge in the state of Virginia June 10 from a tea party opponent who has criticized the majority leader for not being conservative enough and accused him of supporting amnesty for immigrants living here illegally.