April 16, 2014
Statement by the President
One year ago, the Senate introduced comprehensive bipartisan legislation to fix our broken immigration system. Both sides worked together to pass that bill with a strong bipartisan vote. The Senate’s commonsense agreement would grow the economy by $1.4 trillion and shrink the deficit by nearly $850 billion over the next two decades, while providing a tough but fair pathway to earned citizenship to bring 11 million undocumented individuals out of the shadows, modernizing our legal immigration system, continuing to strengthen border security, and holding employers accountable. Simply put, it would boost our economy, strengthen our security, and live up to our most closely-held values as a society.
Unfortunately, Republicans in the House of Representatives have repeatedly failed to take action, seemingly preferring the status quo of a broken immigration system over meaningful reform. Instead of advancing commonsense reform and working to fix our immigration system, House Republicans have voted in favor of extreme measures like a punitive amendment to strip protections from “Dreamers”. The majority of Americans are ahead of House Republicans on this crucial issue and there is broad support for reform, including among Democrats and Republicans, labor and business, and faith and law enforcement leaders. We have a chance to strengthen our country while upholding our traditions as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants, and I urge House Republicans to listen to the will of the American people and bring immigration reform to the House floor for a vote.
11/5/14 After President Obama repeated a promise to take action by the end of the year to halt deportations for some undocumented immigrants if Congress doesn’t move on rewriting U.S. law, House Speaker John Boehner said that President Barack Obama will “poison the well” if he changes U.S. immigration policy without waiting for Congress to act.
- White House White Board: Immigration and the Economy
- Infographic: The Benefits of Immigration Reform vs. the Cost of Inaction
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:
President Obama’s Immigration Timeline:
- 4/7/15 U.S. appeals court rejects challenge to 2012 Obama deportation relief
- 2/24/15 DHS Extends Eligibility for Employment Authorization to Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses of H-1B Nonimmigrants Seeking Employment-Based Lawful Permanent Residence
- 2/23/15 U.S. Justice Department asks for stay to allow immigration action
- 2/5/15 Pres Obama hosts DREAMers from around the nation who qualified for his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program
- 2/2/15 Pres Obama recognizes and reaffirms true government-to-government relations and in honoring the trust responsibility to American Indian tribes pursuant to treaties and the U.S. Constitution
- 1/15/15 Mexican government began issuing birth certificates to its citizens at its consulates in the US
- 11/21/14 FACT SHEET: The Economic Benefits of Fixing Our Broken Immigration System
- 11/21/14 Presidential Memorandum — Creating Welcoming Communities and Fully Integrating Immigrants and Refugees
- 11/21/14 Presidential Memorandum — Modernizing and Streamlining the U.S. Immigrant Visa System for the 21st Century
- 11/21/14 Department of Homeland Security Fixing Our Broken Immigration System Through Executive Action – Key Facts
- 11/21/14 President Obama delivered remarks and signs the Executive Orders on Immigration Reform
- 11/20/14 President Obama addressed the Nation on his Immigration Reform Presidente Obama Se Dirige a la Nación (Subtitulado al Español)