Last week we talked about the role immigration reform played in President Obama’s inauguration speech. Now, President Obama is already advocating for immigration reform and is somewhat forceful in his message to Congress: start working on immigration issues. This could mean major changes for those people in Lancaster who are searching for a path to citizenship.
Many insiders believe that the president is extremely confident that he has the upper hand when it comes to immigration reform. This is, in part, because members of both parties are looking to change the immigration system, and stalling in the political process would potentially cost votes from immigrant groups in the future. There has already been a movement in the Senate headed by a bipartisan group to push for an immigration reform bill, but it appears the senators’ efforts may not be in line with the president’s.
For example, the president has made it clear that he wants to create a pathway for citizenship for the millions of people living in the United States without the legal permission to do so. Though the president is clearly in the early stages of planning such a pathway, it is something that he is passionate about. The senators, however, are reluctant to offer citizenship to these immigrants without first “securing” the border. One senator has even proposed that an independent body must first confirm that there has been enough done to stop the flow of undocumented immigrants across the border before there would be any laws put in place to grant immigrants without the legal permission to remain in the United States a chance to naturalize.
While there is still some debate as to how these reforms will be accomplished, it is clear that many people in the immigration communities and in Lancaster can expect some major immigration reforms soon.
Source: The New York Times, “On Immigration, Obama Assumes Upper Hand,” Michael D. Shear and Mark Landler, Jan. 30, 2013