White House Promotes Obama's Four Principles for 'Common Sense' Immigration Reform Proposal
While President Barack Obama has delayed immigration executive action, the White House has not avoided the topic but is promoting the issue online.
Obama said he would announce an executive action if Congress does not provide him a "common-sense" comprehensive immigration bill. To support what he's looking for, the White House outlines four main principles for a "common-sense" proposal.
The first principle is titled "Continuing to Strengthen Border Security." According to the White House, Obama has doubled the number of border patrol agents and claims border security is "stronger than it has ever been." While the Obama administration admits more work can be done, Obama proposed the creation of new criminal penalties specifically to combat transnational criminal organizations, notably in the drugs, money, weapons and human trafficking sectors.
Obama also wants to improve partnerships with cross-border law enforcement partners by having the U.S. Department of Homeland Security collaborate with communities along the northern and southern borders to enhance communication efforts. In addition, the DHS efforts would help boost funding for tribal government partners.
The second proposal, "Streamlining Legal Immigration," should provide a "simple and efficient" process for undocumented immigrants to receive legal status in the U.S. According to the Obama administration, the U.S. immigration system is a "reward" for individuals willing to work and "play by the rules" of the country.
"The President's proposal attracts the best minds to America by providing visas to foreign entrepreneurs looking to start businesses here and helping the most promising foreign graduate students in science and math stay in this country after graduation, rather than take their skills to other countries," the White House noted.
The second proposal seeks to eliminate the current backlogs plaguing the immigration system. To help eliminate the backlog, the president proposed to temporarily increase the annual visa numbers and recapture unused visas. An increase of the annual country cap from 7 percent to 15 percent was proposed and does not discriminate based on sexual orientation. In addition, Obama sought to allow foreign entrepreneurs seeking U.S. investors or revenue finances to receive a "startup visa" for starting and growing a business in the U.S. Green cards would also be available for foreign graduate students who receive diplomas in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, but from qualified U.S. universities.
In a statement made in January 2013, Obama said the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. should "earn their way to citizenship." In the third proposal, titled "Earned Citizenship," Obama proposed undocumented immigrants should "register, submit biometric data, pass criminal background and national security checks, and pay fees and penalties" if they want to be eligible for "provisional" legal status. For this aspect of the "Earned Citizenship" proposal to start, the backlog in the immigration system has to be completed and cleared first. Once individuals obtain provisional legal status, they will still not become eligible for welfare or other federal benefits including assistances from the Affordable Care Act.
DREAMers are also affected by the third proposal as Obama said they can receive an expedited opportunity to become a U.S. citizen if the immigrant youths complete at least two years in college or serve in the Armed Forces.
For individuals who had their opportunity to stay in the U.S. denied, the president seeks to grant immigrants the opportunity to have a judicial review of their revoked or denied claims.
The Obama administration wants to target employers hiring undocumented immigrant workers. The fourth proposal, titled "Cracking Down on Employers Hiring Undocumented Workers," Obama said a national system has to be implemented for businesses to "quickly and accurately" verify an individual's employment status. If an employer hires an undocumented immigrant, penalties may occur. The president's proposal would allow employers to use federal government databases to verify an individual's eligibility to work in the U.S. The fourth proposal would also help combat fraud and identity theft.
According to the White House, aspects within the four proposals have progressed. Obama has requested Congress pass legislation including his proposals. While he supports the bill passed in the Senate, the House of Representatives have not debated or voted on the bill. As a result, Obama said he would issue an executive action.
As Latin Post reported, Obama said he may announce an executive action in November, much to the disappointment of several national Latino and immigrant rights group who were expecting a decision by this month.
"What I'm saying is I'm going to act because it is the right thing for the country, but it's going to be more sustainable and more effective if the public understands what the facts are on immigration, what we've done on unaccompanied children and why it's necessary," said Obama during the Sept. 7 broadcast of NBC's "Meet the Press."
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